Thursday, April 12, 2018

News: Composites experts combine in Rotherham

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The 2018 Composites UK Annual Conference is taking place on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham next week. The site is home to a number of pioneering composite projects.

Composites UK is the trade association for the UK composites supply chain. It is hosting its annual conference and a dedicated aerospace showcase at The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing on April 18 - 19.

Described as a "must-attend event for companies wanting to keep up-to-speed with strategic thinking," the programme is split into four sessions covering securing the future of the UK composites industry; progress in delivering the UK Composites Strategy; building the infrastructure to support a UK supply chain and finally a case study session from companies at the forefront of composites manufacturing innovations.

Speakers include BEIS, British Standards Institute, Composite Integration, the Department for Exiting the EU, ESI UK, FDM Digital Solutions, Lucintel, National Composites Centre and R-Tech Materials.

Dr. Sue Halliwell, operations manager at Composites UK, said: "With the uncertainty of what Brexit will bring, this event aims to keep industry up-to-date with current thinking in order to plan ahead. The strategic sessions will highlight key opportunities and challenges for the UK composites sector with development projects showcasing how we are taking a cross-sector approach to develop UK GDP. If you're looking to grow or maintain your business then you need to meet the strategists and leading industry players who will be at this conference."

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The following day sees the separate Aerospace Sector Showcase on which Composites UK is working closely with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) to deliver a cohesive programme.

GKN Aerospace, ADS Group, Airbus and Spirit AeroSystems will join with other researchers and exhibitors.

Claire Whysall, communications manager at Composites UK, said: "This is the second time we will have organised a showcase event for the aerospace sector and we are delighted to have the invaluable support of ATI for 2018. The addition of Airbus and Spirit AeroSystems to the programme really shows that the key players in the aerospace industry are looking to engage and open up their supply chain to the composites community."

Based on the AMP the AMRC has a £4.5m state-of-the-art centre supporting the development of advanced composite materials inside the Factory of the Future. The centre works with complex hybrid components and systems, which require manufacturing expertise in both composite and metallic structures.

The AMRC played a major role in the Integrated Wing Project, a previous R&D project lead by Airbus. In an effort to improve efficiency, the project team focused on identifying new materials and manufacturing processes, like using composites, to produce actuators and braces for aircraft landing gear that would be lighter than those currently made with high tensile strength steel.

Experts at the centre are currently working on commercialising a new, proprietary technology for applying the "wonder metal" graphene to critical composite structures in sectors such as aerospace.

The centre has also installed a unique, high pressure press to help luxury car manufacturer Bentley reduce weight and greenhouse gas emissions.

Supercar manufacturer McLaren is reshoring UK production​ at a new purpose-built factory on the AMP and is working on a two-year research and development programme with the University of Sheffield on how best to manufacture its carbon fibre chassis.

AMP-based PES Performance works at the cutting edge of composite design in F1, aerospace, marine, Olympic sport and medical technology.

Composites UK website

Images: AMRC

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