Monday, November 24, 2014

News: AMRC puts on a display for Red Arrows' 50th season

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Designers, engineers and apprentices at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing in Rotherham have put their skills on display as engineers from the Red Arrows paid a flying visit.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and a partner in the HVM Catapult (the government's strategic initiative that aims to revitalise the manufacturing industry), the partnership between industry and academia focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It employs around 200 highly qualified researchers and engineers from around the globe, who have worked on manufacturing challenges for likes of Airbus, Boeing and GKN Aerospace.

AMRC's Composites Centre staff Conrad Sdao, Craig Atkins, Paul Rigden and Phil Greenway used their skills to make a scaled down replica of the tailfin of one of the BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce-powered, Hawk T1 jets, which the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team flies.

The fin is resplendent with the design created especially this year to mark the 50th season milestone of the team, renowned for its trademark combination of close formations and precision flying.

The replica fin will go on display at the Red Arrows' home base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and is also likely to be used to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects to pupils.

Researchers from the AMRC's Design Prototyping and Testing Centre produced a Computer Aided Design model of the tailfin which apprentices from the AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre used to create a mould.

Then the Composites team went to work, carefully lining the mould and curing the material in a special oven, before bonding the two sides of the fin together and finishing it, ready for presentation to the Red Arrows senior engineering officer, squadron leader Haroon Raja.

Squadron Leader Raja said: "The hi-tech, precision work of the Royal Air Force and the Red Arrows demonstrates not only the importance of STEM subjects but also the huge variety of roles and careers in which they form a vital part.

"Every time you watch a display in the air by the Red Arrows, they are a tangible reminder of engineering excellence and the work of well-trained and motivated personnel on the ground, whether they be technicians or logistics personnel."

Craig Atkins, development engineer at the AMRC Composites Centre, said: "We wanted to congratulate the Red Arrows on their achievement and do something that would promote STEM subjects to young people.

"We thought the tailfin would be an iconic thing to make, particularly as it carries the new design, marking the 50th season."

In September, the AMRC was one of the organisations taking part in a STEM day hosted by the Red Arrows at RAF Scampton which saw more than 300 school children gain a better understanding of these crucial subjects.

AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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