9 June 2015

  |  CBI Updates Team

News

Galvanizing furnace design – B E Wedge Holdings and the University of Sheffield

B. E. Wedge Holdings Ltd has completed two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with Sheffield University and began a third in 2014.

Galvanizing furnace design – B E Wedge Holdings and the University of Sheffield

B. E. Wedge Holdings Ltd, a group of leading galvanizing businesses based in the West Midlands with a growing international presence, has completed two Knowledge Transfer Partnership projects with Sheffield University, both related to combustion engineering.  One of them was awarded the highest possible accreditation of ‘Outstanding’ by the independent KTP assessment panel.

The company began a third KTP in autumn 2014. The work concerns the advanced technology which underpins the market leadership of its subsidiary Hasco Thermic in the specialised field of galvanizing furnace design.  It aims to extend furnace design tools to investigate new methods for furnace control.

Angela Curtis, Managing Director of Hasco Thermic (above, front row centre), explains:

“The results of the investigations undertaken in partnership with the University, which is a world leader in this field, have been instrumental in advancing our thinking on improving the performance and energy efficiency of the company’s products.

“In addition to the KTP’s direct benefit to us, we perceive great value in the opportunity to work closely with the experts in Sheffield because it encourages us to think even more widely and perceive further possibilities of advancement. We are great supporters of KTPs.

“Research and Development can easily take a back seat while people get on with their day jobs.  Having someone dedicated to an R&D project can help move product development forward, and even commercialise something that might otherwise take the business much longer to achieve.

“We have been very fortunate that, in our case, the KTP associate got to know our product and business so well that he has contributed not only to the success of what he was working on but also the success of the business as a whole.

“If you can find the right person, then it provides a great chance for the company to diversify and strengthen the team.  It is also a great opportunity for various minds within the business to get together and take some time out to think about the future, which is something that is not always high on the agenda when daily business has to take precedence.”

The KTP associate, Dr Xinyi Liu (back row, right), adds:

“The KTP project between Wedge Group/University of Sheffield, as the first job after my graduation, brought me multiple challenges including a different environment from university and academia, a multi-disciplinary project, and more hands-on skill required.

“I have found the support from both university and the company very encouraging, which helps me in both getting in-depth technical understanding and quickly learning skills required for R&D tasks in combustion industry. Meanwhile, the training provided by the project package and university personal development resources also benefits me not only in project terms but also in my career over the long run.

“Thanks to the KTP project, I am now more and more involved in the company’s R&D activities, as well as routine business. My KTP experience has been great in helping me, coming from a university researcher role, to fit into an industrial R&D environment – everybody benefits.”