UK defence technology breakthrough could cut titanium parts production costs by half

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on Monday that its Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (officially abbreviated to Dstl) had, in cooperation with the University of Sheffield, developed of a radical new method of producing titanium parts. Dstl has so far invested almost £30 000 in this research and development programme. Titanium combines high strength and corrosion resistance with low weight. It is as strong as steel but is only 50% of the weight of steel. But it is some ten times more expensive than steel and it is difficult and expensive to make titanium products. The new technology is called FAST-forge and cuts the number of steps required to manufacture titanium parts from 40 to just two. The technology has been proved at the laboratory scale and a pilot plant (described by the UK MoD as “large-scale”) has been completed and will soon start operation.