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AMF faces the future of machining

posted 1 Nov 2010, 01:57 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 1 Nov 2010, 03:49 ]
Rolls-Royce outlined the machining challenges faced in developing its next generation of jet engines at the latest Advanced Manufacturing Forum (AMF) event hosted by the University of Sheffield AMRC with Boeing.

Andrew York, modern manufacturing project leader for Rolls-Royce, explained how the company is working with the AMRC and other research centres to enhance its production capabilities for future products. 

For any jet engine, one of the most demanding parts to machine is the turbine disc. The AMRC is working with Rolls-Royce to develop new techniques for high performance disc manufacture, with the aim of reducing the number of different machining operations needed for each disc from 16 or 17 to just two or three. Achieving this would significantly increase Rolls-Royce's production capacity for these vital components, and help reduce costs.

The research is part of the Samulet (Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK with Leading Environmental Technology) project. Samulet is a major Technology Strategy Board/EPSRC-funded collaborative project with contribution from several Regional Development Agencies and Scottish Enterprise. It aims to boost the UK's aero-engine industry and introduce new low-carbon technologies. 

"We've a great deal to do to get this new technology in place, and that's where Samulet comes into play," York told the forum. "We have to introduce new materials, new machining processes, and climb to a manufacturing rate which is unprecedented."

The AMF event, which took place at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham focused on future machining strategies and was attended by around 80 delegates from a range of manufacturing companies. They also heard presentations from leading machine tool suppliers Mori Seiki and WFL, and software developer Delcam. 

Rotherham-based AESSEAL finished the morning with a talk on how it introduced multi-task machining technology to produce bespoke high-performance seals for the oil and gas industry. 

The AMF is the AMRC's technology network for manufacturing businesses. The regular AMF events cover a range of topics of relevance to manufacturing businesses, offering insight into current and emerging technologies and supply chain issues.

AMF membership costs £50 a year for two places at each event. Non-members can also attend events for a charge of £25 per place. For more information about becoming a member or to find out about upcoming events, please contact amf@amrc.co.uk.