Surface engineering refers to a wide range of technologies designed to modify the surface properties of metallic and non-metallic components for decorative and/or functional purposes. Examples include improving corrosion and wear resistance to extend component life, making items more visually attractive, and giving special properties such as lubricity enhancement or non-stick surfaces.
Surface engineering has been recognised as an enabling technology which is capable of addressing some of the key issues faced by the manufacturing industry. In many engineering applications, performance and life are dominated by surface effects. With the performance requirements of metals being pushed to ever increasing lengths, a key solution is in the use of highly engineered surfaces. The development, application and validation of surface engineering treatments are valuable tools in achieving differentiated products by allowing, at the same time, high materials performance and advanced designs. The AFRC investigates the impact of coatings, such as glass coatings or lubrications, and the impact these have on the forming process. In the 2014 autumn budget statement funding, CPI was allocated £28m for a National Formulation centre that will provide facilities and expertise to help companies to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of formulated products and processes which will include lubricants and coatings.