Tuesday, August 7, 2018

News: AMRC taking carbon fibre weaving to a new dimension

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Construction of a flagship fibre processing equipment that will take carbon fibre weaving to a new dimension is gathering pace at the University of Sheffield AMRC Composite Centre.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the university's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (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.

An impressive 3D weaving loom and Jacquard is the centerpiece of a collection of state-of-the-art equipment purchased by the AMRC following a successful funding bid made to the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).

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The 3D loom accompanies other new equipment at the centre – a braiding system, tailored fibre placement, a high temperature-high tension filament winder, stitching robot, tow-spreading machine and robotic end effectors for automated handling – which will be used to manufacture preforms and develop the enabling technology for commercialisation including joining, automation and impregnation.

Chris McHugh, dry fibre development manager at the AMRC Composite Centre, said the 3D weaving loom and Jacquard opens up a new range of opportunities for producing very complex carbon fibre preforms.

"It will take carbon fibre weaving to a new dimension," said Chris, who recently joined the AMRC Composite Centre with decades of textile experience under his belt having previously worked for James Dewhurst, NWTexnet and Sigmatex.

"This equipment will play a key part in the next generation of Lightweighting material for aerospace and automotive taking a multi-material, multi-process approach to preforming."

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Research focuses on the production and machining of composite components, including hybrid parts which combine high-performance metals and composites in a single structure. Such structures can provide significant weight savings while maintaining the highest material and structural performance, offering improved fuel efficiency for aerospace and other transport applications.

One of the AMRC's most high profile projects is the work with McLaren Automotive. Around 45 employees are already housed at the AMRC, innovating the process for creating lightweight carbon fibre "tubs" for the supercar manufacturer for its soon-to-open £50m facility on the AMP.

AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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