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This year Wolfson Heat Treatment Centre celebrates its 40th Anniversary.


The official opening of the Wolfson Heat Treatment Centre, 14th December 1973.

l/r: Alan J Hick, Tom Bell, Sir Anthony Bowlby Bt (who opened the Centre), Professor Bill Alexander (Head of Metallurgy Dept. and Acting Director of WHTC) and Dr J A Pope (Vice-Chanellor of the University of Aston in Birmingham).


40th Anniversary

Serving Heat Treaters for Forty Years

The Wolfson Heat Treatment Centre, British industry's focal point for information, advice and education on heat treatment processing, first opened its doors for business on the 2nd April 1973 as part of the Department of Metallurgy at the University of Aston in Birmingham. There it remained for 31 years under the  management of Alan J Hick, who since then and to this day has also served as secretary to the Contract Heat Treatment Association.  Alan, who was also editor of the Centre's world-renowned Heat Treatment of Metals journal, retired from the Centre at the end of 2004 and coincident with this, in January 2005, Wolfson became affiliated to the Surface Engineering Association and relocated to their headquarters in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham.  At this time the responsibility of running the Centre was taken over by the current manager Derek Close, who joined Wolfson in March 1981, in the capacity of Heat Treatment / Metallurgical Consultant, and now has over 32 year's service.

The Wolfson Heat Treatment Centre owes its existance to a survey into how UK industry approached the heat treatment of engineering components, which was funded by British Steel Corporation and conducted by the late Tom Bell, then of Liverpool University but latterly Hanson Proffessor of Metallurgy at Birmingham University.  One of the problems identified by the survey was the fragmented nature of the heat treatment industry in the UK, and that it lacked an authorative body responsible for collecting and disseminating information on heat treatment practice and innovation.  Tom, who is pictured above at he Centre's official opening in December 1973, recommended that a central heat treatment advisory bureau be established which was done by Aston's Metallurgy Department who obtained initial funding from the Wolfson Foundation's Technological Projects Scheme aimed at nurturing university activities for the benefit of industry - hence the Centre's name.  Once established the Centre became self sufficient and the rest is history!


© Wolfson Heat Treatment Centre
Federation House, 10 Vyse Street
Birmingham, B18 6LT, UK

T: 0121 237 1122
F: 0121 237 1124