Bristol wins £2m centre for 3D printing

April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

R&D collaboration for aircraft and cars


Aircraft maker EADS and GKN Aerospace are launching a £2m research centre to examine industrialising the next generation of manufacturing process known as Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM), which is essentially ‘printing’ objects in 3D.

The collaboration will be supported by a £1.96m investment provided through a Government Regional Growth Fund grant for the use of ALM in aerospace but also for making parts and accessories for cars.

The project will be based in a new shared facility at Filton in Bristol and is expected to create up to 30 new sustainable engineering jobs and develop a new supply chain of companies in the region.

“Promoting innovation is vital if we are to drive growth in our local communities,” said Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk. “We have received a large number of ambitious and highly competitive bids to the first round of the Regional Growth Fund, which will help a number of businesses across the country, and I am delighted to announce funding for this collaboration between EADS and GKN Aerospace. Aerospace is one of Britain’s international successes and one that we should be proud of. We are number one in Europe and number two in the world with a 17 per cent global market share. I look forward to seeing the collaboration build further on this success, creating more jobs here in Bristol and providing an invaluable boost to the local economy.”

The ALM process grows solid 3D shapes from powdered raw material. The shape is created as a digital model which is split into horizontal slices. A laser or electron beam then traces the shape slice by slice onto a bed of powdered material, heating the material, melting it and bonding it to the layer below.  It then quickly cools to form a solid. The process is repeated slice by slice by sweeping a fresh layer of powder over the top each time.

This technology has the potential to advance the design and manufacture of parts in ways that cannot be achieved today, delivering lighter, purpose made parts which use less material, generate less waste and produce lower emissions.  Early results indicate that manufacturing waste could be reduced by up to 90% – particularly significant in industries where high-cost materials are used, such as the aerospace sector.

“This collaboration takes a significant step towards bringing this unique technology into industrial reality. As a more efficient, sustainable process, ALM has the potential to revolutionise industrial manufacturing and secure the UK’s position at the forefront of high tech innovation,” said Ian Risk, Head of EADS Innovation Works UK.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bristol to be part of high-value manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC)

March 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: News 

The National Composites Centre (NCC) at the University of Bristol has been named as a partner in the first of a UK-wide network of elite technology and innovation centres

Bristol’s NCC is one of seven highly capable and internationally recognised research centres around the country which will make up the new Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) for high-value manufacturing which is distributed right across the UK.

The centre will be one of a network of about six in which the Government will invest a total of more than £200 million over the next four years with the aim of enabling British businesses to commercialise the results of world-class research in the UK and access major new high-tech markets.

“I am delighted for the NCC to be working with the five other centres – the Centre for Process Innovation in Wilton & Sedgefield, the Advanced Forming Research Centre at the University of Strathclyde, the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham and the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick – in the formation of the high-value manufacturing TIC,” said Peter Chiver, Executive Director of the National Composites Centre (NCC),

“This is fantastic news for Bristol. Today’s announcement recognises the world-class expertise in advanced manufacturing in the South West and the fantastic potential of this industry to secure jobs and prosperity for decades to come.  On a more practical level, it will enable Bristol to solidify its position at the forefront of composites, an industry that is growing at eight per cent per year. This is a huge opportunity for the National Composites Centre.”

Guy Orpen, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol, said: “There is no doubt that composites will form a vital part of the UK’s manufacturing renaissance. This key part of the UK economy will be driven by closer collaboration between industry and the very best of academia and we are proud that the University of Bristol and the NCC’s initiating partners are playing such a significant role in this important part of the UK’s economy going forward. This is very good news for Bristol, the region and the UK.”

Enhanced by Zemanta