Transforming Foundations Research and Innovation Hub (TransFIRe) Launched

By Paul Fears | 08 November 2021

Cranfield University is leading a research consortium examining how the foundation industries can grow and develop while helping achieve the net zero 2050 environmental targets.  TransFIRe (Transforming Foundation Industries Research and Innovation hub) was developed in response to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) call to transform the foundation industries, namely: chemicals, cement, ceramics, glass, metals, and paper.  These industries produce 75% of all materials in the UK economy and are vital for the UK’s manufacturing and construction industries.  Together, foundation industries are worth £52 billion to the UK economy and produce 28 million tonnes of materials per year, accounting for about 10% of the UK total CO2 emissions.

Bunting is one of 49 companies signed up as project partners.  The TransFIRe consortium also includes 20 researchers from 12 institutions, and 14 non-governmental organisations related to the sectors.  There is expertise across the foundation industries as well as energy mapping, life cycle and sustainability, industrial symbiosis, computer science, AI and digital manufacturing, management and business, social sciences and technology transfer.

Bunting’s Role in TransFIRe

As a project partner, Bunting is looking at physical processing techniques to upgrade waste materials generated in the processing sector and make them amenable for re-use.  This involves applying both magnetic and electrostatic separation technology to separate metals from waste products such as ashes from power generation.  Once processed, the waste materials are suitable for reuse in a wide variety of applications such as filler in cement or additives in glass manufacturing.

The TransFIRe programme furthers previous work undertaken by Bunting in conjunction with a number of the Universities in the project.

Material Testing

Bunting’s Customer Experience Centre in Redditch, near Birmingham is home to highly specialised magnetic and electrostatic separators.  As an equipment supplier, Bunting’s role in TransFIRe focuses on the feasibility of separating metal contaminants from waste products to enable reuse.  This includes extensive test work undertaken at the test facility.

Transforming foundations research and innovation hub
Buntings Customer Experience Centre

The range of equipment at Bunting’s Customer Experience Centre includes magnetic separators, eddy current separators and electrostatic separators.  Magnetic separators recover magnetically affected metals and include high-intensity designs such as the Rare Earth Roll as well as the patented Stainless-Steel Magnetic Separator.  Non-ferrous metals get recovered and separated by the Eddy Current Separator, which uses a high-speed rotating magnetic rotor to repel metals such as aluminium and copper.

The advanced ElectroStatic Separator expands the scope of metal separation, preferentially separating small conductive particles from non-conductive particles.

Net Zero 2050 Target

The effective recovery, recycling and reuse of waste materials is essential to meet the 2050 net zero target. 

“TranFIRe is a collaboration of equipment suppliers, academia and the waste sector,” said Neil Rowson, Bunting’s Laboratory Manager and Professor of Minerals Engineering at the University of Birmingham.  “Effectively converting waste into a useable material has many benefits.  Firstly, there is a reduction of material going to landfill and, secondly, less virgin, mined and quarried raw materials are required.  It is very exciting to be a project partner.”

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For further information on Magnetic Separators, Eddy Current Separators, and ElectroStatic Separators or to discuss a specific project including undertaking tests in our Customer Experience Centre, please contact our technical sales team on:

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Photographs by Paul Fears Photography

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