Wednesday, February 29, 2012

News: Nuclear AMRC goes deeper


The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) in Rotherham is installing one of its largest machine tools to investigate new ways of drilling extremely deep holes.

The TBT ML700 is capable of drilling holes of 8m depth and between 5-110mm diameter through stainless steel. At a length of 27m, it is one of the largest machines ever sold by TBT UK, and the largest in any university facility.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, The £25m Nuclear AMRC is a joint initiative between the University of Sheffield, The University of Manchester, and a consortium of industry partners. It assists UK companies to successfully compete in the emerging £40 billion civil nuclear supply chain.

The Nuclear AMRC machining team and industrial partners will use the centre to investigate new techniques for drilling holes to depths of up to 500 times their diameter in a single process.

Deep holes are required for key components of modern nuclear reactors, and in other industries such as oil and gas. The current industry limit is a depth of around 300 times diameter.

To produce the deeper holes required by nuclear, manufacturers currently drill holes from both ends which, if all goes well, meet up in the middle.

Researchers are now investigating a new approach, with the aim of drilling holes of up to 8m depth with a single cut in a wholly automated process.

Stuart Dawson, head of the machining group at the Nuclear AMRC, said: "We want to eliminate operator intervention.

"We want a completely green button process with zero human intervention during the process. That means we need some kind of drill steering method so it can travel eight metres down this hole and arrive at the other end within a few millimetres of its target."

Key parts of the research will be carried out by Nikki Hilton, a postgraduate mechanical engineer from the University of Sheffield who is starting a four-year engineering doctorate at the university's new Industrial Doctoral Centre in Machining Science.

With sponsorship from Rolls-Royce, Hilton will undertake a series of linked research projects addressing tool tip tracking and steering technology. She said: "Nuclear manufacturing is a very exciting area at the moment, and it's good to be working with industry and creating a practical solution rather than doing some abstract bit of research.

"The fact we have the Nuclear AMRC and Rolls-Royce and the academic support of the university means we can really push the technological limits."

Nuclear AMRC website



Supported by:
More news...

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP