The University of Nottingham School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering (www.research.nottingham.ac.uk) is joining forces with Rolls Royce, the East Midlands Development Agency and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance to establish a $2.17 million (≤1.1 million) state-of-the-art waterjet machining technology center that will explore how the technology can be used to create parts for the aerospace industry.
Engineers at the new center will use a 6-axis waterjet machine, capable of cutting three dimensional parts from blocks of metal, to develop new processes and techniques. “It’s a method that’s particularly suited to aerospace engineering,” said Project Leader Professor Ian Pashby. “The metals used within the industry are difficult to cut and machine using other methods. Waterjet technology is very precise and adaptable,” added Pashby.
Stephen Burgess, Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Process and Technology Director, said: “Waterjet manufacturing can be and has been used to reduce the cost and environmental impact of producing and refurbishing our components. It is suitable for many commodities in our supply chain as well as processing next generation materials and structures. The machine at the University of Nottingham will allow us and the aerospace industry to research and develop solutions to a range of manufacturing challenges.”
A $969,000 (≤492,000) grant from East Midlands Development Agency has been used to purchase the new equipment. Rolls Royce and the University are supporting technical development. The center is unique in United Kingdom engineering, and its program will be the first time the technology has been used for the aerospace industry outside of the US.