WMG has pioneered design and manufacturing technologies that have been implemented into large scale aerospace products and processes. This activity has drawn on our expertise across lightweighting, composites, machining technologies, lean manufacturing and supply chain and logistics.
Aerospace is a vital advanced manufacturing industry in the UK involving significant value-adding R&D activity. UK aerospace is expected to grow driven by a global increase in air traffic. However, there are also pressures to reduce operating costs and environmental impact so new products and manufacturing technologies will be required for a sustainable future.
WMG Research Capabilities
In order for organisations to stand out, the need to invest in R&D has never been greater. Working in collaboration with WMG research teams gives access to a wealth of expertise across a range of disciplines including:
WMG is one of seven partners in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult - a network of world-leading centres focused on advanced manufacturing and working with manufacturing businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to help accelerate the activity between technology concept and commercialisation.
Some examples of our successful R&D solutions include:
- Design for manufacture implementing flexible tooling into Airbus
- Early application of Additive Layer Manufacturing to design the flight certified components with BAE Systems
- Lightweighting of products working with metallic materials including metal matrix, titanium alloys and shape memory alloys, addressing challenges in both forming and joining
- Investigating various aspects of polymer composites and multi-material structures including development of out-of-autoclave technologies for rapid manufacture of composite structures
- Developing the necessary manufacturing technologies for short-cycle time, high volume production of carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic components
- The potential for integration of multi-functional surface technologies during manufacture of carbon fibre composite panels
- Development of hybrid cladding and machining processes to make large aerospace structures
- Providing training and skills development, e.g. BAE Systems, UTC Aerospace and Rolls-Royce
Some examples of our recent research are provided in the case studies below - these studies relate to a wide range of research at WMG. If you would like to discuss working with WMG on a project, please contact a member of our team.
The Application of X-Ray Computed Tomography in the Aerospace Industry
The main objective of this project is to identify how Computed Tomography (CT) can be employed for the benefit of the aerospace industry. The project will identify aerospace product inspection requirements where X-Ray Computed Tomography can add value and be a viable process for use in product development and/or production environments. This will be achieved through performing metrology and non-destructive testing (NDT) case studies on aerospace components, utilising the latest CT hardware and software, and the subsequent matching of capabilities and outputs to industry requirements.
Accelerated Cladding and Integrated Machining (ACCLAIM)
The ACCLAIM project aims to develop a high rate affordable manufacturing process for large metallic aerospace structures. Directed Energy Deposition Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) - known as 'cladding' - has significant advantages. It offers flexibility, performance enhancement and the ability to add complex material features onto existing components. In this project, cladding is being used to manufacture large titanium alloy airframe components.
KT Box Service Transformation Tool
The Service Transformation Tool (STT) was part of the EPSRC-funded KT-Box project to develop and apply academic research in complex services. The STT examines the collaborative delivery of a service outcome from single contract to entire customer-provider relationship scales. The objective was to assist organisations in establishing joint capabilities to achieve combined equipment and service outcomes in partnership with their customers.
Developing Skills for Aerospace
WMG has a long history of working with the aerospace sector to deliver skills programmes for employees. We specialise in creating programmes suited specifically to the business and have partnered with many global companies to deliver education solutions that meet their particular needs.
WMG was asked by Goodrich Engine Control Systems to further develop their Operational Leadership Development Programme for the engine control area of their business. Since Goodrich's takeover by UTC Aerospace Systems, we have continued to work with the organisation to develop and deliver the programme in a highly changing and dynamic environment.