New Knowledge Transfer Partnership will address skills shortage

Fri, 28 Aug 2020 11:47:00 BST
Professor Anjali De Silva
Professor Anjali De Silva

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is to lend its expertise to an Ayrshire-based engineering company in a bid to address a sector-wide skills shortage.

GCU researchers will work with Precision Tooling Services Ltd (PTS) as part of a £211,000 Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to increase its understanding of electrochemical machining (ECM) – an effective process of cutting metals that are unyielding to traditional methods.

Despite ECM’s effectiveness, its wider use in industry is limited due to perceived drawbacks such as high-energy consumption and the generation of by-products, which may be toxic and cause environmental damage. Therefore, PTS has identified that research and development work is urgently needed so that ECM’s benefits can be more widely exploited and the company’s staff better trained in using it.

Commercial ECM expertise in the UK is limited, so the GCU team, with its extensive R&D experience in advanced manufacturing, aims to develop a smart and sustainable process for using ECM and embed a working knowledge of this process in-house at PTS, thus increasing its offering in the aerospace, automotive and renewable energy sectors.

The GCU team running the 30-month project is made up of Professor Anjali De Silva and Dr Ares Gomez, both of the School of Engineering and Built Environment.

Professor De Silva said: “Our research team has several decades’ experience with industry collaboration, and possesses globally recognised expertise. We are delighted to be able to help PTS address a UK-wide skills and capability shortage in advanced manufacturing processes, particularly in Scotland, which will enhance future growth in this sector.”  

A KTP is a relationship between a company and an academic institution, which facilitates the transfer of knowledge, technology and skills to which the company partner currently has no access. The KTP scheme has been helping companies big and small innovate for growth for more than 40 years and is led by Innovate UK.