AMRC helps make ‘Man of Steel’ industrial icon for Sheffield

Posted on 15 Jan 2013

The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has completed a two metre model of a proposed landmark sculpture for the Sheffield city region.

The Man of Steel is the work of sculptor Steve Mehdi and was originally created as a 30cm bronze figure. It is designed to pay tribute to South Yorkshire’s long history of steel and coal industries, while also reflecting the region’s 21st century strengths in advanced manufacturing and metals technology.

“Man of Steel was inspired by the men and women I worked with in engineering in Sheffield, and the generations of people who worked in steel and coal across the region,” says Mehdi.

“The inspiration for a landmark version of the sculpture came from local people who first saw the sculpture in an exhibition of my work and said ‘This could be our Angel of the North’,” he added.

Mehdi was introduced to the AMRC for help with producing a large model of his design to raise awareness of the project.

The proposed 30-metre sculpture will feature a 20-metre stainless steel figure sitting on a 18-metre black column. This future

A machine tool routs out the form of the Man of Steel model at the AMRC (University of Sheffield)

landmark will overlook the M1 motorway from a former landfill site a few miles north of the AMRC campus on the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

“This project honours the past and embraces the future, bringing together the heritage of the old industries and signposting the new technologies of the Sheffield city region,” Mehdi says.

John Halfpenny, manufacturing engineer at the AMRC with Boeing Composite Centre, managed production of the model Man of Steel. “This was a totally different project to our usual work in the Composite Centre – it’s nothing like what we’ve done before,” Halfpenny says. “But it’s good to work on a project that’s potentially going to be in Sheffield for the next 200 years.”

The model is made from polyurethane resin board, a material normally used for creating prototypes and models of automotive and aerospace structures. This was sculpted on the Composite Centre’s CMS five-axis machining centre, using cutting tools from Sheffield-based Technicut.