British Steel will enhance its range of rail products and services by embarking on a multi-million-pound research and development (R&D) programme with engineers from the University of Sheffield.
The partnership will see British Steel use new state-of-the-art equipment.
The company, which supplies the majority of the track laid in the UK and exports to major networks across the globe, is working with the university to ensure British manufacturers remain at the forefront of rail technology and innovation.
The partnership will see British Steel use new state-of-the-art equipment, alongside the University of Sheffield’s world-renowned metallurgy and mechanical engineering expertise.
Installed across two sites at the university’s Faculty of Engineering and British Steel’s R&D facility at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, the equipment will be used to test steel that can be used to build new and improved railway infrastructures.
Rails produced as part of the collaboration will be used to improve the UK’s own infrastructure as part of the UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN).
A spokesman said: “The network is aligned with the Government’s Industrial Strategy and aims to supply the UK’s rail industry with world leading new technologies for trains, railway systems and infrastructure for a more reliable and efficient railway. The rails will also be sold across the globe as British Steel continues to grow into new markets and territories.”
“The University of Sheffield is the only university in the UK to have this range of equipment in one place and it’s been developed thanks to funding from Research England’s Research Partnership Investment Fund which offers a match funding approach for co-investment with industry partners. British Steel is contributing £1.6 million including significant staff time and materials, matched on a 2:1 basis with Research England funds.”
“The investments include machinery that will be able to simulate the contact between wheels and railway rails under a variety of different conditions giving British Steel and the rail industry the ability to test new rails and sleepers more rapidly than could be achieved by trial installations on the network.”
Grinding maintenance machinery will also be available to British Steel and the rail industry via the University of Sheffield.
British Steel’s CEO Ron Deelen said: “This partnership will help ensure British Steel continues to lead the way in developing and building the railways of the future. In a hugely competitive market, we’re committed to enhancing our product range so we can keep meeting and exceeding the high standards operators and travellers rightly demand.
“Product development, integrity and innovation have never been as important, with major rail infrastructure programmes around the world, including HS2, requiring the high-quality products synonymous with the British Steel name. We’re well-placed to supply significant quantities of rail, and constructional steel, into major projects like these and deliver cost-effective solutions to the challenges our customers face.”
Professor David Fletcher, Professor of Railway Engineering at the University of Sheffield, added: “The investment in new equipment with British Steel is opening up research directions, and partnering with them is a fantastic route for the knowledge gained to achieve impact. Besides research we’re also running undergraduate projects with British Steel input so the next generation of engineers can benefit from the investments as they enter industry. Research England’s co-investment with industry into Sheffield has enabled us to take these steps.”
LIBERTY Steel UK is helping the government to ‘build back better’ and sustainably with the first orders for its green steel rebar, or GreBar, now set to ship.
LIBERTY Steel UK has received the first orders for its sustainably-produced GreBar, a green reinforcing solution that is designed to help support the government’s ‘build back better’ initiative. Made from scrap metal melted in an electric arc furnace, LIBERTY Steel’s GreBar had successful trials at the firm’s Thrybergh bar mill in Rotherham over the summer. Now, it’s set to be shipped having secured full Cares and sustainability approval this week.
LIBERTY Steel says GreBar orders totalling nearly 10,000 tonnes will be delivered before the end of the year, building on the company’s strategy to supply GREENSTEEL components to UK construction and infrastructure projects, as well as reduce the country’s reliance on imported steel.
Steel reinforcing bar (rebar) is commonly used as a tension device for reinforced concrete structures in major road, rail and construction projects. At present, half of the 1.2m tonnes used annually in the UK is sourced from abroad. The HS2 rail project will require nearly one million tonnes of rebar alone.
The firm’s Rotherham mill is set to ramp up GreBar production over the coming months, with the ultimate goal being for capacity to reach 300,000 tonnes per annum.
Peter Gate, Commercial Director of Rebar for LIBERTY Steel UK said: “The UK government has pledged to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic and our rebar offering made through LIBERTY’s GREENSTEEL process offers customers the chance to use high-quality steel produced sustainably by a UK business.
“Reducing the UK’s reliance on imported rebar will cut transportation emissions and costs while strengthening the country’s supply chain for major construction projects.
“We have placed particular emphasis on developing the capability to provide 50mm rebar, which will give customers a broader UK market offering in this size and help drive design and cost efficiencies in construction.”
A Humber site has been chosen as the proposed location for what would be the UK’s first rare earth processing facility.
Exploration and development company Pensana Rare Earths says Hull’s Saltend Chemicals Park has been selected, in order to create the world’s first fully sustainable magnet metal supply chain.
Working with Wood Group, the UK engineering consultants, the processing plant would become one of only two major producers outside China of rare earth oxides used in the manufacture of powerful permanent magnets, critical to the offshore wind and electric vehicle industries.
Gerry Grimstone, UK Minister for Investment, said: “We very much welcome the proposal to establish a fully sustainable rare earth oxide magnet metal processing facility in the Humber region. This facility is an important step in the establishment of a permanent magnet supply chain in the UK which could support a range of industries important to building back greener and our Net Zero ambitions.”
Saltend Chemicals Park is a cluster of chemical and renewable energy businesses including BP Petrochemicals, Ineos, Nippon Gohsei and Air Products, strategically located on the Humber estuary.
The 370-acre site, which is managed by the px Group which provides a range of services including power, water, reagents, waste disposal, centralised control and administration which will allow Pensana to focus on the operational aspects of its planned rare earth facility.
Pensana chairman, Paul Atherley, said: “The Saltend Chemicals Park offers an exceptional range of services allowing us to plug into power, water, reagent supplies and services and to recruit a highly skilled local workforce at internationally competitive rates.
“It is very clear that it is no longer acceptable for British and European companies to import the raw materials critical to the Green economy from unsustainable sources.
“The Saltend facility has the potential to become a world class producer of rare earth oxides and to help establish a supply chain for the manufacture of powerful permanent magnets critical for the offshore wind and electric vehicle industries in the UK and Europe.”
Pensana is looking to begin development of the Longonjo mine in Angola in the first quarter of next year and bring it online as the first major rare earth mine in over a decade.
By importing mixed rare earth sulphates from Longonjo, and processing them into separated magnet metal oxides in the UK, for the first time customers should be able purchase these raw materials with confidence that they have been sourced and processed sustainably.
Pensana adds it has begun discussions with the Department for International Trade on setting up a sustainable permanent magnet supply chain in the UK.
The business says it is also working with various initiatives designed to support the electric vehicle and offshore wind industries in the UK.