DRAMA at the MTC

Posted on 17 Jul 2018 and read 506 times
DRAMA at the MTCThe Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) (www.the-mtc.org) in Coventry is to lead a £15 million programme called DRAMA (Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace) aimed at encouraging suppliers to the UK aerospace industry to adopt additive manufacturing.

3-D printing is employed in many manufacturing sectors in a variety of materials, producing everything from simple tools to major parts for aircraft engines.

The MTC houses the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM), which brings together the most comprehensive combination of equipment and capabilities in the UK.

Aerospace suppliers will be able to test products and processes in a virtual additive-manufacturing facility at the MTC, and then transfer the work to the latest physical machines.

During the project, a full trial facility will open at NCAM, with proving facilities also available at Renishaw in Stone, Staffordshire.

Renishaw has also installed a ‘state of the art’ RenAM 500M laser additive-manufacturing system at the MTC.

The automated system is designed for the factory-floor production of metal components, including titanium, and it includes the latest optical laser monitoring processes.

Katy Milne, who is leading the DRAMA project at the MTC, said the programme was focused on additive manufacturing using metal powders.

“The importance of additive manufacturing to the UK aerospace industry can’t be overstated. It has the potential to revolutionise design approaches and component manufacturing.

"There are more than 4,000 companies involved in the aerospace industry in the UK, and additive manufacturing offers the biggest opportunity since the introduction of composites.

"Aerospace prime manufacturers are increasingly demanding reduced weight, reduced cost and higher-performing parts, so for those suppliers who don’t keep up with the technology, it could also be a significant threat.”

At the launch event for the DRAMA project, Paul Evans, head of manufacturing technologies and processes at Airbus, said his company wanted to help UK businesses to improve their take-up of additive manufacturing.

“Unless suppliers can work with additive manufacturing, they are going to miss out.

“It is about bedding the technology into the UK supply chain, so they know how it works, and how to design to get the best quality to make what we need.”

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