A memorandum of understanding has been signed by the MTC with Exeter's Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) that will see the pair work together on the development and exploitation of additively manufactured high-performance polymeric (HPP) parts.
HPP components are used in harsh and high-stress environments. Of note, HPP parts are resistant to high temperatures, high pressures and corrosive chemicals, and are used extensively in the petrochemical, oil and gas, aerospace, power generation, and medical sectors.
In recent years the University of Exeter's CALM has been driving the research agenda for producing HPP components using AM, in particular for high-temperature requirements. CALM has delivered multiple collaborative projects with industry to bring these materials and processes closer to commercialisation.
The National Centre for Additive Manufacturing brings together one of the most comprehensive combinations of AM equipment and capability in the UK. The facility is also home to the European Space Agency's Additive Manufacturing Benchmarking Centre.
Dr Hoda Amel, who heads the polymer additive manufacturing activity within the National Centre, says AM is a fast-growing area, but the production of end-use parts for the high-value manufacturing sector demands improved component performance. Enhanced part properties arising from this partnership will help to drive the uptake of polymer AM within the UK manufacturing sector.
"The University of Exeter's CALM facility has been carrying out some very interesting work on the production of HPP components using AM,” she says. “That, combined with the expertise and capabilities of the MTC, opens up some exciting possibilities. We’ll be looking to develop the technology by exploiting AM processes, combined with the advantages of cost, speed and complexity that AM brings as we bridge the gap between market requirements and process reality.”
Professor Oana Ghita, lead of CALM at the University of Exeter adds: "Our R&D work on HPPs has now reached a high level of maturity that needs the MTC's input and collaboration.”