AMRC helps luxury car maker reduce weight

Posted on 10 Sep 2017 and read 306 times
AMRC helps luxury car maker reduce weightThe Composite Centre at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) (www.amrc.co.uk) is installing a high-pressure press as part of a project to help luxury-car manufacturer Bentley reduce weight and carbon emissions.

AMRC specialists are working with Bentley, Sigmatex, Expert Tooling & Automation, Granta Design, Cranfield University and Group Rhodes as part of the Lightweighting Excellence (LX) programme, which is backed by the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).

Currently, industry uses simple ‘pre-forms’ that are impregnated with polymer resin and cured to create composite material.

Although these pre-forms are designed for low ‘takt time’ and high production speed, the structure of the resulting part uses more material than necessary.

In order to capitalise on the weight savings offered by carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), the process strategy needs to be re-defined.

The project will look at the precision and tailored production of the pre-form material to achieve component weight reductions of up to 20%.

The AMRC will turn the optimised pre-forms of composite material into finished components using its new press, which is currently being installed adjacent to the Factory 2050 facility.

The AMRC says the press is a ‘world first’ in terms of its size, capabilities and the level of monitoring and control it will provide.

At 6m high and 7m wide, the press will be able to produce several components simultaneously, using a process known as high-pressure resin-transfer moulding.

As part of the LX programme, a robotic cell developed by the AMRC and Expert Tooling & Automation will complement the press.

The cell will aid further industrial research into carbon fibre weaving and robotic placement technology used to produce pre-forms.

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