Tata Steel and WMG team up to drive UK steel development

Posted on 24 Sep 2014 by Callum Bentley

A new stretegic partnership between Tata Steel, the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and the University of Warwick is set to help drive advancement in the UK steel industry.

WMG, at the University of Warwick, has announced the creation of a new Advanced Steel Research Centre.   The new Centre complements Tata Steel’s coinciding announcement of the creation of its new international research centre to be based at the University of Warwick.

The new Advanced Steel Research Centre will be led by Professor Sridhar Seetharaman, Tata Steel / Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Low Carbon Materials at WMG.  It combines his research excellence with that of two further Tata Steel Chairs at WMG, Professor Claire Davis, Tata Steel chair for research into thermo-mechanical processing, and Professor Barbara Shollock, Tata Steel chair in advanced characterisation and coatings.

The new Centre will feature high-tech research facilities, including advanced characterisation facilities, which will provide a unique national resource, complimenting Tata Steel’s long term investment in its new centre at the University of Warwick.   The new WMG Centre strengthens the relationship between WMG, the University of Warwick,  and Tata Steel through a strategic partnership, with research, research infrastructure, education and exploitation opportunities.

Together the two new Centres provide a critical mass of research excellence that positions the UK at the forefront of the international iron and steel research agenda.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman and founder of WMG said: ”This story began with a partnership between WMG, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Tata Steel Group to appoint a Professor in this field of research. He is now part of a team of three professors and associated researchers. Today’s announcements mean that that team will now draw on and interact with a significant concentration of steel  processing talent and technology in these two new centres.  This story will continue as these initiatives deliver crucial new technologies to manufacturers and new products to our homes and businesses”

Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, group director research and development at Tata Steel said: “WMG is gearing up to provide an eco-system for world class research in steel product and process development through co-sponsored professorial Chairs, funding for equipment, and appointing staff and faculty members to create active groups around the Chair professors. The creation of the Advanced Steel Research Centre will provide the much needed focus on research in this area in the UK. By locating our R&D centre at the University of Warwick, Tata Steel will work closely with the Advanced Steel Research Centre and leverage its expertise and facilities in an open innovation framework for providing our customers and supply chain partners with new products and services.”

Tata’s R&D centre

Coinciding with WMG’s announcement, Tata Steel will also be launching its new R&D centre at the University of Warwick to better serve the needs of its current and future customers.

Company scientists and engineers will develop a range of materials to meet manufacturers’ and consumers’ future demands, such as for renewable energy generation and more fuel-efficient cars and planes which Tata Steel announced in February.

The development was a result of £8m in investment from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Tata Steel’s R&D Group Director Debashish Bhattacharjee said: “We are strengthening our Research & Development in the UK to further develop technology and knowledge partnerships with customers, suppliers, and universities.

“We want to meet the future demands of our customers who are asking for lighter, stronger and more versatile steels.”

Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick, said: “This new centre creates a critical mass of research excellence which positions the UK at the forefront of the international iron and steel research agenda. WMG and Tata Steel researchers will work together with this significant concentration of steel processing talent and technology to develop and deliver crucial new technologies to manufacturers enabling them to bring new products to our homes and businesses.”

WMG’s Professor Sridhar Seetharaman, Director of the new WMG Centre said:  “Tata Steel is undertaking transformative changes that will enable them to operate in sustainable and competitive manner.  As a metallurgist, I cannot imagine anything more exciting than to be a part of this. There is a multitude of hypothesis driven fundamental research questions, that need to be investigated in order to engineer the new processes and develop more value-added products.”