Don’t count out the traditional

While you may often read about the developments of nano materials, graphene, the benefits of carbon fibre or how in the future everything will be made from a high strength plastic, for the most part UK manufacturers rely on making parts from metal, using traditional processes.

However, many of these processes are undergoing technological investment and development to keep them favourable amongst the masses. Casting, for example, still makes up a massive part of UK production and casting companies are keeping up with the lightweighting megatrend and answering both the demands and concerns of customers.

I'm off to see a leading UK casting firm today with a long history of successful projects. I'm looking forward to hearing how its investment in simulation technology and design is playing a vital role in reducing the amount of material needed in a cast and reporting back more. In other words, it is lightweighting parts by making walls thinner without compromising strength.

And they are not alone. Many traditional processes and materials are undergoing similar moves to bring them in to the 21st Century. So while we always use the mantra of using the right material for the right application, that doesn't always mean the newest. There is nothing wrong with seemingly standing still and using traditional processes that are familiar, as long as you are considering your options and doing what makes sense, and is right, for you.

Justin Cunningham

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