LIGHT METALS DIVISION ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2014
- Board membership
Board membership continues to evolve to reflect the changing shape of the UK light metals industry away from primary production towards a more application and user-based community. In recent years, new centres of excellence have started to emerge within the UK academic network and these are now making a significant and ongoing contribution to the activities of the LMD. A review of membership was undertaken at the November 2014 board meeting, and a new model agreed whereby each contributing organisation would have a primary contact as a full board member, supported by additional corresponding members where appropriate. A number of previously active board members are also retained for correspondence purposes.
Board membership will continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis. The table below shows members as at December 2014:
- Board meetings
Board Meeting, June 13 2014, University of Manchester (Attendance 10)
Board Meeting, November 27 2014, Sheffield AMRC (Attendance 17)
- Activities during 2014
Combining board meetings with additional events proved to be an effective strategy during 2014, with our participation in a Light Alloys Workshop in Manchester during June being followed by a visit to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in November.
The LMD played an active role in the LATEST2 Light Alloys Road Mapping Workshop (Fundamental Challenges in Light Alloys Research: Supporting innovation in advanced manufacturing for environmentally sustainable transport), held in Manchester on June 13. IOM3 and LMD were listed as sponsors / supporters of the event, with the main aim of themeeting being to identify the research challenges that will need to be addressed, to support future industrialinnovation in advanced manufacturing with light alloys in the transport sector. The workshop was byinvitation only and LMD board members were among the 42 delegates,comprising technical experts from theaerospace and automotive industries and across the materials supply chain in titanium, magnesium andaluminium.
Helen Forrest (Innoval Technology) continues to manage the LMD website content. Presentations from the December 2013 Strategy Workshop were uploaded to the site during 2014, along with a document summarising the ‘stand out themes’ developed during the session plus concerns and issues for the future of the industry. An overview presentation, highlighting the role of the LMD plus key findings of December 2013 strategy workshop, is now available from the ‘welcome’ page of the LMD website. This presentation was used to stimulate discussion during the introductory session of the LATEST2 Workshop in Manchester (see above) and was also subsequently presented at the July ITPB meeting.Board member biographies are also starting to be introduced. Website content will continue to be managed and improved on a regular basis, with the new IOM3 website platform expected to provide opportunities to improve the visual appearance of the light metals pages.
3.3.Engagement with technical community and/or local societies
The LMD is currently working with the East Midlands Materials Society to develop a technical programme for a dedicated conference in 2016.
Our approach of holding board meetings being at key academic and industrial centres across the UK regions will continue in 2015,combining with visits and other events where possible to do so.
3.4.Contributions to IoM3 house journals
An overview article on the activities and strategy of the LMDis currently beingpreparedfor the March 2015 issue of Materials World.
Sustainability initiatives. Many of the themes identified during the December 2013 strategic planning workshop are associated with more efficient and effective use of light metals in key strategic market segments. The LMD is committed to increasing and coordinating light metal R&D across the entire value chain from alloy design, processing, optimisation, scale-up, deployment and end of life recovery and recycling to enable UK manufacturing to continue to benefit from innovation in light alloy metallurgy while simultaneously seeking to educate and inform the end-user community. The mission of the LMD hasrecently been redefined accordingly:
to provide a unique UK forum which ensures a vibrant and innovative light metals technology sector by bringing together specialists from academia, industry and government to share knowledge and support education in light metals with a view to maximising their sustainability, application opportunities and use in manufacturing.
- Strategy and Objectives for 2015 and Beyond
There have been major changes in the UK industrial landscape since the LMD was first formed in 2000, with primary metal and alloy production and downstream processing activities declining significantly, particularly for aluminium. Today, the remaining light metal producers and processors tend to be multinational conglomerates, as are most of the major users. Conversely, over the same period, the demand for light metals has increased, particularly from the automotive and aerospace sectors, with local sourcing and a short supply chain becoming a major strategic requirement. To support these aims, the LMD has developed a framework for a strong UK-based network to help shape light metals research in the UK.
The LMD is continuing to focus on the outcomes of our December 2013 Strategy Workshop (available online at Regular meetings and workshops provide a forum to bring industrial and academic stakeholders together, thus ensuring that advances in light metals research and development are aligned with manufacturing challenges, particularly from the transport sector.
4.1.Opportunities and constraints
Greater collaboration between universities and industry will assist the development of enabling technologies to open up new applications for light metals and also ensure that the challenges of major industrial users are addressed. The LMD will continue to seek opportunities to work closely with other IOM3 groups, such as the Automotive Applications Division and the Casting and Solidification Division, and maintains a strategic plan for light metals R&D linked with current and perceived future industry needs.
From a wider European perspective many recent national studies have all concluded that metallurgy, as a fundamental and applied research topic, is suffering from low levels of public investment and student enrolment. This is particularly the case for light metals research and development in the UK and more must be done to promote interest in this strategic field, both in the UK and in Europe.
4.2.Specific targets for 2015
Three board meetings have been confirmed for 2015, with a number of key work areas identified that are to be progressed between meetings.Current action areas include the following:
- Developing a ‘high impact’ scope and mission statement that best reflects our modified strategy.
- Producing a Light Metals Division brochure.
- Continuously updating the Light Metals Division website to ensure content is both visually appealing and up-to-date.
- Collecting thoughts and recommendations on “the education gap” in Metallurgy and Materials, for communication and lobbying purposes.
- Exploring options for a dedicated Titanium dissemination event in 2015. A number of international conferences are taking place during 2015 and it is felt that there may be a market for a UK dissemination event. (An alternative event in 2015 could be a dedicated Young Persons event to promote light metals and metallurgy.)
- Providing speakers and supporting the organising committee of the East Midlands Materials Society conference on Lightweight Materials and Structures.
- Reviewing board membership on an ongoing basis and promoting advancement through the IOM3 grade structure where appropriate.
4.3.Outline plans for the 4 years beyond 2015
The LMD strategic plan will be continuously developed and maintained, with regular input from EPSRC, Innovate UK and other key academic and industrial groups. Over the past few years, the UK government has supported a series of R&D activities in light metals through the EPSRC, Innovate UK and HEFCE. The LMD already works closely with the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Liquid Metal Engineering (LiME) and the EPSRC Light Alloys Towards Environmentally Sustainable Transport: 2nd Generation (LATEST2) programme. Many of the current LMD board members, through their regular employment, are actively engaged in these research activities and will continue to inform the agendaon an ongoing basis. Indeed, it has been recognised that the 2013 LMD Strategy Workshophad helped to stimulate the recent “Lighter for less” call from TSB.
Collaboration and communication amongst the key players in light metals is an issue, so efforts will be made to promote more collaboration between aluminium, magnesium and titanium toaddress issues that are common to all the three metals, such as recycling andsustainability. Furthermore, there are synergies between the aerospace and automotivemarkets, such as light weighting strategies and designing with light metals that are not currently being exploited. The LMD – and IOM3 – is well placed to promote greater integration between industry and market sectors over the medium-to-long term. Opportunities will also be taken to develop a presence for LMD and IOM3 activities at relevant international conferences.
- Other matters
None to report.
Appendix: Technical Programme as of December 2014Date
(YY/YY/MM) / Status
/Planned) / Title / Location / Organising Division(s) /Committee(s)
/Collaborators / Financial Underwriter (IOM3/
Other) / 100%
Target No's / Actual No’s
19/02/2015 / Planned / Board Meeting / 1 CHT / LMD
10/06/2015 / Planned / Board Meeting and visit to AFRC, Strathclyde / University of Strathclyde / LMD
16/08/2015-20/08/2015 / Planned / Ti-2015: The 13th World Conference on Titanium / San Diego, California / TMS (IOM3 co-sponsors) / TMS
29/10/2015 / Planned / Board Meeting and visit to Magnesium Elektron / MEL, Swinton / LMD
tbd / Progressing / Ti Industry Dissemination Event / tbd / LMD / IOM3
20/06/2016 / Progressing / Future Directions for Lightweight Materials and Structures / National Space Centre, Leicester / EMMS / LMD / EMMS
Sept 2016 / Progressing / Euro LightMAT 2016 / Manchester / DGM / LATEST2