The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Ansty Park, Coventry, UK, has launched an Additive Manufacturing innovation hub at its Aerospace Research Centre. The new hub aims to lead research, development and collaboration on metal Additive Manufacturing, developing and testing ideas for taking the technology forward.
The new hub’s establishment is part of the £15 million MTC-led Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing facilities for Aerospace (DRAMA) project, which encourages suppliers to the UK aerospace industry to adopt AM. Supported by £11 million from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, DRAMA has so far engaged with more than fifty aerospace supply chain companies, and is inviting applications for new projects.
The hub will incorporate a manufacturing facility with a workshop and design, research and testing facilities for Additive Manufacturing users and researchers. An online reference resource will also be made available out of the centre.
The MTC stated that the hub will also offer training at all levels, advice on AM suitability, business case and implementation, research (both bespoke and collaborative), and business and technical support both online and in person. Dr Katy Milne, Chief Engineer for the DRAMA project at the MTC, stated, “The new hub will provide space and facilities for Additive Manufacturing designs and processes to be discussed by like-minded experts and users and taken forward.”
“Additive manufacture has the potential to revolutionise design approaches and supply chains. There are more than 4,000 companies involved in the aerospace industry, and there are current examples where aerospace primes have reduced the part count by an order of magnitude, this could be really disruptive for the existing supply chain.”
“For companies who move into this space, there are major opportunities,” she continued. “Additive Manufacturing offers the biggest opportunity since the introduction of composites. What we have learned from the DRAMA project is that collaboration is vital and everything we learn for aerospace can be transferred to other sectors.”
Further funding for the DRAMA project is delivered by Innovate UK, supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute. Other partners involved in DRAMA are Renishaw, the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, ATS Applied Tech Systems, Autodesk, Granta Design, the National Physical Laboratory and the University of Birmingham.