MTC Launches Aerospace Additive Manufacturing Innovation Hub

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Additive Manufacturing Innovation Hub

Above: (From left) Ken Young – Technology director at MTC; Ross Trepleton – Chief Engineer at MTC; Simon Weeks, CTO at Aerospace Technology Institute; Dr Katy Milne, Chief Engineer at MTC and Neil Mantle, Head of Additive Layer Manufacturing at Rolls-Royce present at the inauguration of the MTC Additive Manufacturing Innovation Hub/Image Credit: MTC/Twitter

The Manufacturing Technology Centre launched its new additive manufacturing innovation and knowledge hub for metal additive manufacturing at its Aerospace Research Centre, Coventry campus.

It is regarded as a significant advance for the UK manufacturing sector as the new additive manufacturing innovation hub aims to lead research, development and collaboration on metal additive manufacturing, developing and testing ideas for taking the technology forward.

MTC Additive Manufacturing Innovation Hub

Additive Manufacturing Innovation Hub

Above: MTC’s new additive manufacturing innovation and knowledge hub/Image Credit: MTC/Twitter

The additive manufacturing innovation hub, in the MTC’s Aerospace Research Centre on its Ansty Park, Coventry campus will also be the home of an online reference resource as well as a manufacturing facility. Its launch underscores progress in the £15 million MTC-led DRAMA (Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing facilities for Aerospace) project which encourages suppliers to the UK aerospace industry to adopt additive manufacturing. Supported by £11 million from BEIS’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, DRAMA has already engaged with more than 50 aerospace supply chain companies, and is still inviting applications for new projects.

The additive manufacturing innovation hub includes a workshop and design, research and test facilities for additive manufacturing users and experts who can shape the technology, which is among the most important developments in advanced manufacturing for many years. The hub is among the first such centres in Europe.

As well as a manufacturing facility and online resource, the new centre will offer training at all levels, expert advice on AM suitability, business case and implementation, research, both bespoke and collaborative and face-to-face and online business and technical support. Participating companies will have access to facilities and expertise in a commercially neutral but technologically world-class environment. They can also get advice on funding technology development.

The MTC, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK, houses the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM) bringing together one of the most comprehensive combinations of equipment and capability in the UK.

According to Dr Katy Milne, chief engineer for the DRAMA project at the MTC, “The importance of additive manufacturing to the aerospace industry and other sectors could not be overstated.”

The three-year DRAMA project is encouraging the UK aerospace industry’s supply chain to adopt additive manufacturing technologies, which are increasingly being demanded by the country’s prime aerospace manufacturers. Suppliers are able to test products and processes in parallel, both digitally or virtually, or in a real environment, either at the MTC’s facility or at Renishaw’s UK AM solutions centre. 

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