New high-tech castings plant opens in Steel City

AMRC Castings Titanium Caster 1 tonne capacity copper crucible and melting chamber door
AMRC Castings Titanium Caster 1 tonne capacity copper crucible and melting chamber door
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A new plant capable of producing some of the biggest titanium aerospace castings in the world is nearing completion at AMRC Castings’ facilities on the outskirts of Sheffield.

AMRC Castings, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), already has extensive expertise in manufacturing smaller titanium castings

Two large scale power supply units have been installed at the new plant to deliver the energy required by the organisation’s new Retech Consumable Electrode Casting Furnace.

The super furnace is capable of melting the 1,000kg of titanium required to make a 500kg casting and has three interchangeable bodies, which give it the versatility to produce components with a finished weight ranging upwards from 60kg.

Cooling systems that prevent the furnace bodies from melting are also being installed, along with hydraulic and pneumatic systems, which carry out a range of control functions.

“We plan to create a world class Titanium casting capability in the UK developing the skills base necessary to enable companies to reap the rewards of carrying out a process that is very, very challenging,” said AMRC Castings’ Richard Gould.

Furnace construction is due to finish in time for training and cold commissioning to start during November and will be followed by hot commissioning and the first test melts in December, depending on when permission is given to energise the power supplies.

The programme is backed by a number of organisations including the UK’s Aerospace Technology Initiative (ATI), its innovation agency, Innovate UK and High Value Manufacturing Catapult funding.