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New Automated Composite Manufacturing Centre Opens in the Netherlands

01 July 2005

The new centre was officially opened earlier this week at the National Aerospace Laboratory and aims to provide companies with experience in composite manufacturing.

The new NLR technology centre, which was initially established last year, will focus on automation technology for composites Manufacturing and hopes to stimulate innovation of large and small companies from both aerospace and non-aerospace fields.

The centre hopes to bring together the complementary research capabilities of research centres, universities and specialised small enterprises and a consortium has been formed of industries as members.

The core of ACM-TC is the R&D facility for composites manufacturing at NLR. At the heart of the centre is an Automated Dynamics Fibre Placement Machine, capable of processing both thermoset and thermoplastic materials. This machine enables precise lay-up of composite material while offering more freedom to designers to create complex products with reduced labour costs and increases in reproducibility and productivity.

Other equipment consists of an automated RTM-machine with full process monitoring and control features, an autoclave, a c-scan, and clean rooms and a well-equipped testhouse to perform material qualification and structural certification programmes.

Beside the facilities at NLR ACM-TC partners each bring in their specific facilities like braiding machines at Eurocarbon, CNC machines for making rapid prototypes and metal tooling by KOCH HOUTCONSTRUCTIES, CNC machines for making moulds by ATS Kleizen, fundamental reasearch facilities at the universities of Delft and Twente.

A large number of small and large Dutch companies have specialized in the manufacture of composite parts, moulds and subcomponents for, among others, the Airbus A380 and the Joint Strike Fighter. The Universities of Twente and Delft are also involved in composites research. ACM aims to bundle the applied research into automated composites manufacturing.

ACM is not only intended for large companies such as Stork Fokker or other large aircraft manufacturers: smaller and medium sized enterprises are encouraged to participate and will be involved in the centre’s activities.

>A user group representing both large and small companies will be set up to ensure that the centre keeps the correct focus on the needs of all interested parties.

ACM is partly financed by the European Union through the Province of Flevoland.






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