The Toolform programme, joint-funded by Yorkshire Forward, the DTI and Objective 1, has been a runaway success for TWI in partnership with Cti (Castings Technology International). Aimed at providing technical help and assistance toUK based companies involved in metal forming and forging, it has proved extremely popular in the Yorkshire region and beyond. The objectives of the programme are to stabilise and increase employment and business sales in these assisted companies.
TWI has helped a range of companies from the very small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), that are the focus of EU attention, to large businesses which form part of international corporations.
The technical assistance has included diverse activities from NDT and welder training to literature surveys on new materials, forging software development, forging trials with alternative tool steels, to tool repair, deposition, laser and electron beam welding on formed components. The companies that TWI has worked with consist of traditional forge shops (open and closed die forgings), ring rollers and raw materials producers as well as users of forged and formed materials such as extrusions, sheet formers and fabricators. Projects have also been initiated with collaborative groups such as a forged component producer and end user.
A good example of such a collaborative project has been the work carried out between TWI, SDF (a Midlands-based forging company), Kespar (a forging die repair shop) and Bohler Special Steels UK, a raw materials supplier. Bohler Special Steels have provided new tool material for Kespar to produce die sets. SDF was able to test the material on actual forging trials, with TWI providing the metallurgical analysis and technical advice. This trial is on-going but results so far are encouraging. If the new material can improve die life, forging companies will be able to increase productivity and create more complex forgings.
For further information on the Toolform programme, please visit www.twi.co.uk/toolform