Overview of the UK Surface engineering sector

Surface engineering is a sub-discipline of materials science and covers a multitude of processes such as electroplating, anodising, electro-polishing, heat treatment processes, physical vapour deposition and the like. The term surface engineering was promoted by, amongst others, Professor Tom Bell of the University of Birmingham defining it as “the design of surface and substrate together as a functionally graded system to give a cost-effective performance enhancement of which neither is capable on its own”. Imagine a world without cars, aeroplanes, trains, computers, mobile phones, medical implants, buildings, electronics, in fact virtually no manufactured products – that’s a world without surface engineering. Thus, the application of surface engineering is vital to the success of almost every commercial and industrial product: from aero engines to aeroplanes, from iPods to surgical implants and from razor blades to racing cars.