A castings facility capable of producing some of the biggest titanium aerospace components in the world is now operational at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield, a part of the HVM Catapult.
Construction of the furnace for the AMRC Castings Group was completed last year and in the past few weeks the first tests or ‘hot commissioning’ as it is known, have been completed successfully.
The furnace has three interchangeable crucibles with the capacity for melting 250kg, 500kg & 1000kg of metal, which give it the versatility to produce components with a finished weight ranging upwards from 60kg.
A molten mass in excess of 100kg is required to make a 500kg titanium casting and only a handful of furnaces exist globally that are capable of casting near net shape aerospace components of this size.
With leading aerospace primes and manufacturing companies already lining up to collaborate on research, AMRC Castings is conducting initial paper and pilot studies to explicitly identify the risks and value streams asociated with casting large-scale near-net shape components in titanium.
AMRC Castings’ new furnace is part of a major investment and R&D programme, designed to enable UK companies to break into global markets for largescale titanium aerospace engine and structural components and is backed by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute; innovation agency, Innovate UK and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. It will be ready for industrial success around Summer 2017.