Tuesday, September 18, 2018

News: AMRC prepares to go ultrasonic

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£1.8m has been invested in the world's largest ultrasonic assisted machine tool by the University of Sheffield AMRC Composite Centre to extend its world-leading research capabilities in composite machining.

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.

The DMU 340 G linear machine tool arrives at the AMRC at the end of the year and will be the first of its size to be fitted with an ultrasonic-capable spindle for use in five-axis machining applications.

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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.

The machine is capable of providing significant improvements in composite machining, ranging from high-end luxury vehicle monocells to next-generation aeroengine lightweight fan blades. It is also capable of titanium drilling and finishing operations and working with materials of the future such as glass fibre reinforced aluminium, a glass fibre in a resin laminate interspersed with sheets of aluminium and an array of high-temperature composite materials.

The advantage of the ultrasonic capabilities is that the high frequency movements – 40,000 micro-movements per second – bring a higher degree of control of chip formation and heat within the system. The result is less damage, less waste and a better finish – which is why the technology is suited to machining hard, abrasive, brittle material like carbon fibre composites, alloys and CMCs.

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Project proposals are already in the pipeline and the machine will have applications for companies like McLaren, Roll-Royce, The Boeing Company, BAE Systems and Airbus. It also opens up opportunities in the renewables, medical and construction sectors.

Dr Kevin Kerrigan, the lead for the Composites Machining Group at the AMRC Composites Centre who helped DMG Mori create the machine, said: " This machine is the first of the DMU 340 G product range to have the ultrasonic assisted machining kit. It cements the AMRC's reputation for world-leading research for capabilities in composite machining."

AMRC website

Images: AMRC /DMG

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