Millions pour into Sheffield research centre

A Sheffield University research centre has unveiled one of the world's largest composite presses '“ with more equipment worth more than £13m in the pipeline.

Friday, 4th May 2018, 3:53 pm
Updated Friday, 4th May 2018, 3:56 pm
Members of the AMRCs Composite Centre and KraussMaffei in front of the bespoke KraussMaffei RimStar Compact High-Pressure Resin Transfer Moulding system. (l-r) AMRC Development Engineer, Davide Melis, KraussMaffeis Head of R&D and Process Technology RPM Division, Sebastian Schmidhuber, AMRC Research Engineer, Darren Wells, KraussMaffeis RPM Business Manager UK, Stephen Lambert and AMRC Composites Technician, Ricky Rowett.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre says its RimStar is a ‘world first’ in terms of its size and capabilities. It will be used to mould complex parts using materials including carbon fibre for manufacturers.

AMRC composite centre research engineer, Darren Wells said: “There are huge areas for potential growth in using composite technologies for many sectors. The press is ideal for making lightweight structures extremely fast.”

The launch comes after the AMRC put in bids for funding for two more projects worth a total of more than £5m.

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It is asking for £2.7m from the Aerospace Technology Institute to buy equipment to develop new methods, with Boeing, for making actuation systems – the motors that move wing flaps.

Boeing has already received £5.5m from the Local Enterprise Partnership to help build its first factory in Europe next to the AMRC.

The bid states the AMRC’s research will target a reduction in cost of 20 per cent and a 25 per cent reduction in waste in the factory, whilst increasing productivity by 30 per cent.

The AMRC is also bidding for £3.3m for PERFORM, or ‘Disruptive Textile Technology for Aerospace Applications’, also from the Aerospace Technology Institute.

It is to purchase ‘state-of-the-art equipment’ for the AMRC Composite Centre. It would be used with industrial partners to help make aircraft lighter and more environmentally-friendly.

The AMRC is also waiting to hear if a bid for £8.5m for a £31m Lightweighting Centre has been successful.

It put in a bid to the Local Enterprise Partnership to help fund a centre, also on Sheffield Business Park. It secured a £10m grant from the LEP last year.

The centre will research ways to reduce weight in aircraft and vehicles by using materials such as titanium and aluminium alloys. It will be based in two buildings attached to the flagship Factory 2050.