Engineers at the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre are pushing its newest machine tools to their limits, making key components for the 1,000mph Bloodhound car.
The centre is making parts for the rear sub-frame which will secure a rocket designed to produce 27,000 pounds of thrust as it powers Bloodhound to a new supersonic land speed record.
Three of the parts are being made on the Nuclear AMRC’s new Hermle C60 five axis, combined milling and turning machining centre, challenging the team’s ability to make complex one-off components, in addition to testing the machine’s capabilities.
“The learning curve for a machine with the capabilities of the Hermle is very steep, but the Bloodhound project has allowed us to make rapid progress,” said NC programmer Mathew Challinor.
“We have been able to really push our roughing cycles to reduce our times and also test the rigidity of the machine.
“With the complexity of some of the Bloodhound parts, the finishing operations will really show the Hermle’s full simultaneous five-axis potential.”
The Nuclear AMRC team will next make four parts for another vital part of the car’s structure – the front suspension housing, which has to withstand extreme physical stresses while allowing Bloodhound’s pilot, Squadron Leader Andy Green, to precisely control the car.
All the parts have to be right first time and made to tight deadlines, as the car is to make its record-breaking attempt in South Africa next year.
“Our engineering requirement is totally uncompromising,” said Bloodhound’s commercial engineering lead, Conor La Grue.
“All our parts are one-offs – we ask for delivery of the final part from a single attempt from a single very expensive billet, with minimal tool holding.
“The Nuclear AMRC has the highly skilled team and the state-of-the-art equipment and processes needed to deliver our components despite this hugely difficult scenario.”