Tuesday, July 5, 2016

News: AMRC capture Vulcan bomber

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Engineers from the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) are helping to preserve the legacy of the iconic Vulcan XH558 bomber by creating a "virtual tour" of the aircraft that will be used in a new educational programme.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham and a partner in the HVM Catapult (the Government's strategic initiative that aims to revitalise the manufacturing industry), the AMRC focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It is a partnership between industry and academia, which has become a model for research centres worldwide.

The Vulcan, an iconic example of British aerospace innovation, was restored by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, returning the aircraft to flight in 2007, 14 years after it was retired from RAF service. Having last flown in 2015 it will now become the centrepiece of a new educational programme at Robin Hood Airport.

AMRC metrology engineers approached the Trust to offer their state of the art scanning and measurement capabilities to capture the aircraft in a 3D model that they then used to create a virtual tour of the legendary bomber.

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Richard James, Metrology group manager for the AMRC, said: "Vulcan to the Sky want the virtual tour to form an integral part of their educational initiative.

"It will help the Trust enhance their public outreach, allowing unprecedented access to the aircraft, with the public being able to see all around and inside the aircraft in great detail."

The group scanned the aircraft using a spherical scanner (Surphaser) to capture multiple point clouds, from which data can be used for reverse engineering projects such as 3D printing a model.

They then use a 360° NCtech iStar panoramic camera supplied by MD 3D, to create the related virtual tour imagery, and also allowing for colourisation of the point cloud for ease of use when viewing.

The technology and process used to scan the aircraft is commonly utilised in the manufacturing sector to create factory layout simulations, for large volume scanning and processing of large amounts of scan data.

Robert Pleming, chief executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, said: "The results of AMRC's work to produce a virtual tour are truly amazing. I'm sure that the virtual tour will become a significant contributor to our educational activities around the Vulcan. Thank you AMRC, most sincerely."

AMRC website
Vulcan to the Sky website

Images: AMRC

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