The use of composites represent a technology shift away from metals that increasingly characterises manufacturing, particularly in the aerospace sector. Developing expertise here is a priority. The opening of £8.2m National Composites Certification and Evaluation Facility (NCCEF) at the University of Manchester is a crucial step in this direction.
This new facility will provide expertise and evaluation techniques to support companies of all sizes in the development of new composite products and manufacturing processes. Companies such as Instron, who have have supplied 8 of their materials testing systems, have helped to develop world class facilities in mechanical and impact testing. Other advanced technologies such as X-Ray Tomography, ultrasonics and shearography provide a sophisticated NDT capability.
Developing the theme of measurement and testing of composites in aerospace manufacturing, in this month’s issue we look at how advanced laser ultrasonic systems will deliver big technical advantages for the automatic inspection of composites at Airbus (see page 11). As more aircraft utilise composites, the pressure is on to produce parts on time that fit and are defect free. Read about some of the technologies that will make this possible.