Partnership benefits nuclear development

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A PARTNERSHIP between Newburgh Engineering and South Yorkshire’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is starting to pay dividends for both organisations.

Newburgh production engineer Andrew Wright has been working full time at the Nuclear AMRC, supporting the centre’s machining team, while leading a project that aims to ensure Newburgh’s production processes are as efficient as possible.

“Traditionally, in a production environment, the engineers don’t have time to do detailed tests - you can’t optimise or do benchmarking,” says Andrew.

“At the Nuclear AMRC, we’ve got time to do the analysis and get the best processes together and collect some proper data.”

One way of optimising Newburgh’s production that is being considered is to use a more powerful machine tool for some operations. Newburgh has powerful machining centres of its own, but using them for research would mean they couldn’t be used commercially.

“We can do this off-site and not cost Newburgh any production time,” says Andrew.

Newburgh, which has operations in Rotherham and Bradwell in Derbyshire, is also reaping other benefits from its involvement with the NAMRC.

The company has teamed up with fellow NAMRC partner Sandvik Coromant, which is providing tooling expertise, and is trying out different computer aided design and manufacturing software.

“We’ve got a pool of software from different companies that SMEs or even large companies wouldn’t have,” Andrew explains.

Newburgh is also drawing on the NAMRC’s academic resources, including the expertise of postgraduate research engineer Kristian Wika, who is leading an investigation into new production techniques which Newburgh might adopt.

It’s not a one way street, however.

“Andrew is an invaluable addition to our team,” says Stuart Dawson, head of machining research at the Nuclear AMRC.

“As well as his practical machining expertise, his industry knowledge helps keep us focused on the real business requirements of the companies that we’re working with. Newburgh is a great example of the kind of manufacturing company that can succeed in the nuclear supply chain, and we’re proud to be working closely with them to help achieve their ambitions for the UK market and beyond.”

Newburgh Engineering started manufacturing parts for the nuclear industry at its Bradwell site in the 1950s, making it one of the first engineering companies to establish itself in this sector.

The company is one of the few who has never stopped producing components for nuclear reactors and nuclear contracts remain a significant part of its business today, making up over a fifth of its total turnover.