13 September 2011
13 September 2011
A one year advanced engineering programme initiated by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is now set to be a highlighted theme setter for industry briefings at the Composites Engineering Show 2011 (CES).
During the year to 31st March 2011, partners in the i-Composites programme pursued research and development programmes across six main, and sometimes overlapping, activity streams in automation, energy reduction, materials, process time reduction, sustainability, and simulation. The overall intention of the i-Composites programme was to accelerate capability maturity across the Technology Readiness Level 3-6 band, from basic research to the point of demonstration using the collaborative nature of the programme to deliver rapid technology capability advances; compressing into 12 months, work that might have otherwise taken years. And CES say that although all of the technology developments covered within the programme are rooted firmly in enhancements to current industrial processes, they are still just one step removed from being totally accessible to the composites value chain and hence are providing a very useful starting set of projects for the National Composites Centre (NCC) as they represent the current hot topics in composites within the UK
Programme partners included GKN Aerospace, leading the project; Bombardier Aerospace with Loop Automation and Kuka; Aircelle; Sigmatex; ACG; EPL Composite Solutions; Frazer Nash; and a dozen more. All have contributed to this powerful expression of UK engineering future-ready excellence, culminating in a presentation to the Composites Grand Challenge in Action event on 20th July 2011 at the newly opened National Composites Centre.
The Technology Strategy Board is now interested in using this Grand Challenge model in other areas of UK industry to stimulate the same sort of coordinated momentum that is evident within the composites sector.
The i-Composites programme technical projects will be taking front stage at The Composites Engineering Show, November 9-10 at the NEC, Birmingham as the themes for individual presentations within the Composites UK Sponsored Industry Briefings.
NetComposites will be hosting daily, free to attend, technology micro-sessions in the hall which will include topics such as Composite Recycling and Biocomposites.
ThermHex is producing its polypropylene (PP) honeycomb cores using a new vacuum forming roll which allows the production of cell sizes of 5 mm and thicknesses from 11 mm to 12.7 mm.
Israeli company Kanfit has completed the installation of a 5-axis CNC machining centre for the production of aerospace composite parts and tools.
Victrex has invested approximately $13 million in a Polymer Innovation Centre to support is ongoing research and development activities for VICTREX PEEK polymer and other grades within the PAEK family of high performance thermoplastics.