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BCP and University of Sheffield AMRC Develop Reconfigurable Floor Structure

BCP and University of Sheffield AMRC Develop Reconfigurable Floor Structure

  • Tuesday, 4th September 2018
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

Working in conjunction with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, Bespoke Composite Panels (BCP) has manufactured a reconfigurable floor structure used to mount various robots and machinery.

AMRC has a global reputation for helping companies overcome manufacturing problems and one of the areas it can assist organisations with is automation. Automating production using robots requires a solid datum from which the robots can operate. A reconfigurable floor conceals cables and enables factory components, such as robots, tooling and work holding, to be quickly and accurately relocated as changing production dictates. This benefits small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they will typically run small batch productions and change their production methods regularly, requiring reorganising their factory regularly.

BCP provided the AMRC with aluminium honeycomb composite centre, edge and corner floor panels to make up a series of high load bearing but lightweight trench covers. With a crush strength of 235 psi, the panels can manually be removed for quick cable access and reconfiguring of the work cell.

Currently this floor and robot configuration demonstrates the assembly of frames for stud walling by picking and joining C sections on an adaptable fixture (assembly jig). This platform is pioneering for the construction industry as in less than half a day the floor and robots can be rearranged to perform a different application, such as autonomous grinding of steel tooling. It shows lots of different applications and the unique function of being able to quickly change applications, tasks and pod layout.

“The floor design allows for fast turn around and setup of a research cell used to help SMEs explore potential automation applications,” states George Sleath, Project Engineer, AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group. “The service provided by BCP was excellent and I would highly recommend them. They were very knowledgeable in providing help and expertise at the preliminary design stage of the project, helping us to design the perfect components at a cost-effective price. The final composite panels were of very high quality and were delivered on time to a tight deadline.”

Image provided by BCP

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