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The UK Industry Minister Alan Johnson has announced £1.4 million of DTI funding to help a partnership led by Finite Element Analysis Ltd, and Advanced Composites to develop a UK capability for high precision composite moulding.
The PRECIMOULD PLUS project will investigate and develop the technologies required to eliminate distortions during manufacture. The “right first time” manufacture of structures made from composite materials is intended to avoid scrap, reduce re-work and assembly costs and reduce time to market.
Finite Element Analysis Ltd, developers of the LUSAS finite element system, and the composite materials business Advanced Composites Group Ltd, will be partnered by the UK aerospace companies Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast and BAE SYSTEMS who will evaluate this new moulding technology.
Alan Johnson said: “I am delighted that the government can help the development of this important technology. This is a great opportunity for the UK materials industry and highlights how small companies can bring value to our UK aerospace industry. The research will lead to improvements in the accuracy of manufacture of aircraft structures with significant cost savings for the aircraft industry, and will benefit the manufacture of composite components for other applications. Increased use of composite materials in aerospace will reduce aircraft weight and bring environmental benefits such as reduced fuel burn and lower emissions.
PRECIMOULD PLUS will research fundamental composite materials and processing issues, the development of predictive modelling of tool shapes and the composite materials to be moulded and the validation of the modelling work on representative composite structures.
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