Innovation

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The Tinsley Bridge Group is made up of four award winning engineering businesses, Tinsley Bridge, Tyzack Machine Knives, Tinsley Bridge Services and SCG Rail Solutions. Part of British Steel until 1987, the independent Group is now privately owned and located in the heart of Sheffield.

Tinsley Bridge design and manufacture vehicle suspension components including torsion bars, anti-roll bars and stabilizer bars. Clients include automotive, rail and defence vehicle manufacturers including the global truck builders Renault, Iveco and Volvo as well as MOD contractor BAE Systems. Torsion bar suspensions are also known as a torsion spring suspension and torsion beam suspensions.

Tinsley Bridge has been working with scientists at Sheffield Hallam University to develop a high strength steel material called UltraStrength 220 which is significantly stronger and has weight reduction potential for the defence, rail and automotive industries.

The material is a successor to a product known as Extralite which has been used to help BAE Systems improve the suspension in its Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle - used by the British Army.

The collaboration is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) based at Sheffield Hallam's Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI).  It is helping the company develop the steel materials creating a stronger, more ductile and more durable material.

The product can be used in rail, defence and commercial vehicles and is being used improve both suspension and mobility of British Army vehicles whilst maintaining durability and raising rise height.

Mark Webber, managing director of Tinsley Bridge, said: “When the Army changed the weight of its vehicles, the existing suspension couldn’t cope and it was causing problems. Capability was compromised and suspension was failing. We had used a material called Extralite elsewhere and thought we could adapt it for this.

“We are now working closely with Sheffield Hallam on making new materials that are even stronger, more ductile and more durable – and then put them into high performance markets such as rail, defence and commercial vehicles. The new material, UltraStrength 220, could allow suspension parts to operate at high loads, increase durability or reduce weight.”

A technical team led by Dr Quanshun Luo from the University’s Materials and Engineering Research Institute is undertaking the core part of the project, developing a new heat treatment strengthening process.

Professor Alan Smith, director of the Materials and Engineering Research Institute, added: "Companies are approaching us because we have the knowhow and technical capacity to provide innovative business-based solutions. The work with Tinsley Bridge is impressive on many levels - we have helped a local business in their global work with BAE Systems and played a crucial technical role in keeping troops safe on the front-line."

The project is funded by a Technology Strategy Board (TSB) Smart Award and the KTP programme.

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