Monday, November 14, 2016

News: AMRC castings facility nears completion


Europe's biggest aerospace castings facility is close to completion on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

Two large scale power supply units have been installed to deliver the energy required by AMRC Castings' new Retech Consumable Electrode Casting Furnace.

The furnace is capable of melting the 1,000kg of Titanium required to make a 500kg casting and has three interchangeable bodies. It can produce components with a finished weight ranging upwards from 60kg.

AMRC Castings is part of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing. Castings Technology International (Cti) was acquired by the AMRC in 2014. Since then, it has been split into two organisations; AMRC Castings, which focuses on research and development, and Cti Ltd, which carries out commercial work.

AMRC Castings develops new castings technologies and provides design and manufacturing consultancy services for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors.

The systems prevent the furnace itself from melting and remove oxygen from inside the chamber. They also rotate the furnace body to pour molten Titanium into a ceramic mould in the casting chamber below, which incorporates a turntable that can spin the mould at up to 300 revolutions a minute to create a high quality centrifugal casting.


A new plant is being installed to make ceramic mould shells up to two metres in diameter and 2.5 metres long which could weigh more than 2.5 tonnes and will be large enough to produce the largest variants of aero engine intercases up to 500kg, and other structural aerospace components.

Furnace construction is due to finish in time for training and cold commissioning to start during November and will be followed by hot commissioning and the first test melts in December, depending on when permission is given to energise the power supplies.

The programme is backed by the UK's Aerospace Technology Initiative (ATI); its innovation agency, Innovate UK; and High Value Manufacturing Catapult funding and will help to ensure the UK retains its place as the second-largest national aerospace industry in the world and the largest in Europe.

In the past, only the United States is believed to have had the capability to cast near net shape aerospace components weighing up to 500kg.

Richard Gould at AMRC Castings, said: "We plan to create a world class Titanium casting capability in the UK developing the skills base necessary to enable companies to reap the rewards of carrying out a process that is very, very challenging."

AMRC website

Images: AMRC


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