University’s Composite Centre on the move

Eyes down: Research engineer Richard Smith works with the Automated Dynamics fibre placement robot inside the AMRC Composite Centre's new facility in a 1,800 square metre extension to the AMRC Factory of the Future
Eyes down: Research engineer Richard Smith works with the Automated Dynamics fibre placement robot inside the AMRC Composite Centre's new facility in a 1,800 square metre extension to the AMRC Factory of the Future
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The new home for the University of Sheffield AMRC Composite Centre, hosting state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, is now open for business.

Previously based in the original AMRC building on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, the Composite Centre now has bespoke facilities in a 1,800sqm extension to the AMRC Factory of the Future.

Construction of the extension was funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The new facility allows the Composite Centre to provide a full range of design, manufacturing, assembly and structural testing services for advanced composite materials. It also works with complex hybrid components and systems, which require manufacturing expertise in both composite and metallic structures.

The new centre includes a general workshop and a controlled environment with high-spec clean rooms. It is equipped with a growing selection of state-of-the-art design, development and processing equipment. This includes an automated fibre placement robot, 5-axis machining centres, a filament winding machine, autoclaves and ovens.

Richard Scaife, AMRC Composite Centre manager, said: “We are very pleased to announce the new equipment coming in to our new facility. It greatly increases the range and flexibility of the resources available for the manufacture of complex high-fidelity composite parts.”

The new equipment includes a major upgrade to the AMRC’s fibre placement robot. Using such robots to automate the production of composite parts can help ensure consistent high quality of production, and reduce material waste.

The robot now boasts a new four-tow head provided by member company Automated Dynamics. The head, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, will allow more complex parts to be produced without human intervention.

Robert J. Langone, president of Automated Dynamics, said: “The AMRC has been a valuable partner with Automated Dynamics for many years, and we are proud to have added this new fibre placement head to the capabilities of the Composite Centre.

“The centre is always at the leading edge of innovation in our industry, and knowing that our machines help make that happen is rewarding for the entire Automated Dynamics team.”