Tata Steel, Europe’s second largest steel producer, has opened a new research and development (R&D) facility on Warwick campus this week.
Engineers and researchers will be working on new steel coatings, including graphene.
Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, Chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Tata Steel here to the University of Warwick. Advanced steels research is crucial for the nation, and for manufacturing, this move shows Tata Steel’s long term commitment to research and development within the UK.”
However the news comes weeks after Tata Steel announced 1,200 job losses at plants in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire, blaming imports from China bringing steel prices down.
The Government has faced criticism for choosing not to intervene to prevent job losses in the country’s embattled steel industry.
Internal demand for steel in China has plummeted as economic growth has slowed, causing Chinese manufacturers to flood global markets with cheap steel. This has caused problems for manufacturers in the UK with higher operating costs.
Critics claim import tariffs should be introduced to increase the competitiveness of UK steel in the face of increased competition, in the fear that prices will only remain artificially low for short time.
The fear is that UK manufacturers will be priced out of business, with steel prices to rise again in the future.
The new facility at Warwick is first step in Tata’s relocation of all its R&D operations to Warwick Campus. The next phase will see further laboratories built, along with a ‘hub for advanced steel research’, which will house research teams and a comprehensive array of research equipment.