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Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has awarded Beckwood Press Company a contract to manufacture a custom hydraulic press for the compression moulding of various composite materials.
According to ORNL, the research and development efforts made on the press will ultimately contribute to automotive and aerospace industry lightweighting efforts, intended to produce higher performance products with improved fuel efficiency. Scheduled for completion in September 2015, the 100-ton custom press will feature a 36”x36” work area and integrated multiple zone heated platens for precision temperature control.
“It is our goal to make this lab the intersection of our 3D printing capabilities and composites processing,” said Jesse Smith, Manager of Industrial Partnerships & Economic Development Science & Technology Partnerships at ORNL. “It is going to be a very impressive showplace for industry, and we are excited to have Beckwood on our team!”
The Beckwood machines will be used at ORNL by the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). IACMI’s main goal is to develop new low-cost, high-speed, and efficient manufacturing and recycling process technologies that will promote widespread use of advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites.
ORNL explains that, through the new IACMI Institute, a world-class team of leading industrial manufacturers – such as Beckwood, material suppliers, software developers, government and academia will focus on lowering the overall manufacturing costs of advanced composites by 50 percent, reducing the energy used to make composites by 75 percent, and increasing the ability to recycle composites by more than 95 percent within the next decade. Beckwood is a proud supporter of the IACMI and all of its goals and initiatives, and through the contributions of these machines is working diligently to achieve “Resource Member” status.
“Manufacturing organisations rely on our 40 years of experience to provide advanced manufacturing solutions that increase their capability, and competitiveness in the marketplace. But this particular Department of Energy opportunity, and the long-term impact their research & development efforts could have on the automotive and aerospace industries, is special,” he continued. “The opportunity to contribute in this manner, and be a part of this important, macro R&D effort, is something that gives our group of engineers and manufacturing professionals great pride.”
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