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Test house success for Forgemasters

23 April 2013

A vital subdivision of Sheffield Forgemasters International (SFIL) which began life as an internal resource has now become a success story in its own right and is taking on external contracts

SFIL’s test laboratory was set up in 2007 after the company grew frustrated with slow turnaround times from companies it outsourced its products to for materials testing.

The test laboratory grew year on year and in 2009 it began taking on work from external customers. It has now become RD Testing and is part of Forgemaster’s latest subsidiary RD26 Ltd – which encompasses the research and development side of the business.

RD Testing manager Ian Hunter and his team carry out tests at SFIL’s Brightside Lane base for tensile, impact, hardness and metallurgical test to verify the structure and molecular integrity of the metal.

Ian said: “For many years Forgemasters worked successfully with Bodycote Materials Testing, which was also based in Sheffield. But at the end of 2005 Bodycote closed which then forced Forgemasters to source and use other testing facilities in the local area.   

“However this proved problematic as they didn’t give the required turnaround times needed and so to combat this Forgemasters established its own test laboratory in 2007.

“We secured UKAS accreditation in March 2009 and our customer base has grown from there.

“Testing is vital in manufacturing and we can certify to BS EN ISO or ASTM standard, this then allows our customers, which includes foundries, forgers, rolling mills and major steel stockholders, to sell their components fully certified.”

The laboratory is equipped with cooling and heating facilities for testing at a range of temperatures and a specialist machine shop for the cutting and preparation of test specimens.

Ian, who studied mechanical engineering and was previously a radiologist in the manufacturing industry, added: “It is very much in demand and now the majority of our work is external contracts.

“RD Testing plays an important role in the expanding R&D activities within the Sheffield Forgemasters Group by supporting the development of products and manufacturing methods through destructive testing and metallographic evaluation.”