State of the art composites

Demand for composites is growing as manufacturers seek to make products lighter, stronger and more durable. In the UK alone, the value of composites is expected to reach around £12.5bn by 2030. The NCC ensures that Britain is at the forefront of this fast-growing sector.

As part of a £36.7m R&D programme, the NCC explored how digital technologies can make composites easier to design, and quicker and cheaper to make.

Ten ground-breaking new machines were developed, including a giant Braider, which automatically weaves up to 288 individual strands of high strength carbon fibre to create hollow 3D shapes; the Overmoulder, which demonstrates how composite components can be mass-produced at a high rate; and two robots that work in unison to beam ultrasound through high-pressure water jets for quality control.

By showing that composites can be a viable, mass-producible alternative to traditional metallic parts, the NCC continues to make truly global contributions to manufacturing.


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