International metals, industrials and engineering group, Liberty House, has signed a multi-million-pound partnership with the prestigious research centre, the Materials Processing Institute, designed to accelerate the growth of the business through innovation.
The Group, which is already the UK’s fastest-growing industrial enterprise, with 5,500 employees, aims to use the Materials Processing Institute’s world-leading technical and scientific expertise to help it develop advanced manufacturing processes and a new generation of products across its plants in the UK and Australia.
The landmark deal will see the flagship North of England-based innovation centre provide a range of research services to the steel industry giant to help achieve its GREENMETAL vision for competitive, low-carbon, steel and aluminium production.
The Institute will help deliver large scale operational efficiency improvements, as well as product and process capability enhancements to Liberty’s operations.
The agreement covers three major research programmes to support the growth and development of the Liberty business.
One programme is targeted at Liberty’s Speciality Steels business, based in Stocksbridge, near Sheffield in the UK, which will benefit from a research programme to enhance capability of super high-quality engineering and aerospace steels.
Another project will target the Liberty OneSteel business in Australia, with a focus on process efficiency improvement, cost reduction, quality and output.
The final strandof the agreement covers the development of an integrated supply chain for high-value plate and offshore steels, made at the Liberty plate mill at Dalzell in Scotland.
Jon Bolton, Chief Executive of Liberty’s UK steel division, said: “Metal production is a tough, competitive market, but we intend to play an increasingly prominent role in the sector by developing high-value-added products using the most efficient, low-carbon and integrated processes. Through this exciting contract for innovation, the Materials Processing Institute will play a key role in helping us to achieve that. We have already developed a productive working relationship with the Institute and we are delighted to formalise this into a partnership that we believe with forge major new growth possibilities for the business.”
The Materials Processing Institute is an independent, not-for-profit, UK based research and innovation centre, working with industrial clients in advanced materials, low carbon energy and the circular economy. The Institute has a global reputation for innovation in steel, partnering with many of the leading companies in the industry and undertaking research projects for the major steel clients around the world.
The agreement with Liberty House Group further strengthens the Institute’s position within the industry, having recently been ratified as an affiliated member of WorldSteel; the international trade body for the iron and steel industry.
The Materials Processing Institute has also worked with a number of global steel organisations this year; welcoming delegates to its campus from across Europe and beyond, all seeking to take advantage of its expertise.
Chris McDonald, CEO of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “I would like to welcome Liberty House into partnership with the Institute. We look forward to applying our expertise to enabling the global Liberty businesses to be at the forefront of new technology and to provide a tangible and immediate financial benefit for its business.
“This agreement is further recognition of the Institute, not only as the leading centre for steel innovation in the UK, but as a highly sought after and valued partner for the global steel industry. This is based on our long track record, our specialist research assets and, crucially, the unique expertise of our people.
“Liberty House Group is one of the fastest growing steel producers and an integrated energy, materials and manufacturing group of businesses. The group has invested heavily in the UK, including at Hartlepool in Tees Valley, which is close to the Institute’s campus. We are delighted that Liberty has chosen to join other steel companies as part of the Institute Partnership Programme. This will enable us to work alongside Liberty to develop technological enhancements to its products and processes, as we do for many other steel companies around the world.”