Leading UK steel research and innovation centre, the Materials Processing Institute, has helped to secure nearly £1m (€1,066,123) worth of European funding for ground-breaking steel research projects.
The North East organisation has collaborated with several partners from across Europe to secure the funding through the European Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS), which will support the research projects.
The RFCS supports European universities, research centres and private companies with around €40 million every year for research and innovation projects in the coal and steel sectors.
Projects supported by RFCS funding typically include production processes, application, utilisation and conversion of resources, safety at work, environmental protection, reducing CO2 emissions from coal use and steel production.
The fund is managed by the European Commission in cooperation with the Coal and Steel Committee (COSCO), which assists with the management of the fund and the Coal and Steel Advisory Groups (CAG/SAG) who act as technical advisors to the Commission.
Researchers at the Materials Processing Institute are currently working on two projects that involve enhancing production flexibility of steel grades that are prone to slag entrapment, or surface quality issues which occur during the continuous casting moulding process. A third project is looking into how to eliminate casting defects in alloyed steel grades, which is particularly relevant to the high strength and engineering steel sectors.
The Institute is collaborating with a number of European partners on these projects, including Arcelor-Mittal, voestalpine, Swerea MEFOS, IMERYS Metal Casting, Sidenor I&D, KIMAB, CEIT and BFI, ESF Elbe-Feralpi, Minkon, Sandvik. UK partners include Warwick University and the Open University.
An additional €804,448 has been secured from RFCS for three projects, scheduled to commence in July 2019. This includes a project on Real Time Cast Support, which aims to improve process performance during casting, by integrating process data into predictive process and product quality management systems as part of continuous improvement and adoption of new technologies, in line with Industry 4.0
Chris McDonald, CEO of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “We have enjoyed many longstanding partnerships with leading steel companies and research organisations around the world, and these latest and upcoming RFCS projects will enhance the steel sector through productivity gains and improvements throughout the production process.
“Our collective shared knowledge, unique research experience and expertise allows these partnerships to support new developments and improve processes across a range of industries. The Institute has enjoyed an incredibly high success rate in these projects, which demonstrates the added value that our researchers and team can deliver to our industrial partners, in leveraging private research programmes.
“I am looking forward to developing existing RFCS partnerships and helping to secure funding for future, crucial projects.”