Join the engineering parade

Advanced Engineering will incorporate the latest developments in aerospace engineering
Advanced Engineering will incorporate the latest developments in aerospace engineering

Aerospace Manufacturing previews some of the exhibitors expected at this year’s upcoming Advanced Engineering 2019, being held on October 30 and 31 at the NEC Birmingham.


We begin our round-up of exhibitors with Bitrez (Stand J16) which formulates and manufacturers one of the broadest portfolios of thermoset and bio-based materials currently available in the marketplace, together with catalysts and curing agents.

Supplying the composites, coatings and adhesive sectors for global companies in the aerospace, automotive, defence, energy and oil and gas industries, this is the third year the Wigan-based company will be exhibiting at the show. This year, the company has not only been awarded a Queen’s Award for innovation, it has also created new distribution networks across Europe, Middle East, USA, Canada and Mexico.

At Advanced Engineering, Bitrez will be launching a number of new composites-based resins, including high Tg, REACh compliant and out-of-autoclave systems. Visitors to the stand can also discuss customisation of its high-performance Vinyl Ester, Epoxy, Phenolic, Phenol Aralkyl and Benzoxazine resin systems that help enhance processes and applications.

Bitrez also offers toll conversion as well as technical support. Its team of qualified and experienced chemists can produce materials from laboratory scale through to transient pilot stage to enable scale up and allow for small scale qualification work before moving to commercial manufacture.

Nearby, Airbond, (Stand J2) experts in the science of fibre splicing and its applications, will be introducing a range of ground-breaking new developments at this year’s show. Products being demonstrated include Model 302, a fixed-position splicer for waste yarn recovery to reduce factory costs. The system boasts yarn counts up to 9,000 tex and works by enabling the manufacturer to rewind partly used bobbins of yarn, ‘shorts’, to join one to another, until a full-weight bobbin is produced. The full-weight bobbin can then be used to produce another product – ideal where cost and waste savings are paramount in lower quality applications.

Another Airbond development is Model 307, a twin-chamber splicer for upmost strength splices for yarn counts up to 4800 tex, a new and improved lightweight design ideal for use in an everyday factory environment, replacing an older model well established in the composites industry.

Airbond has invested heavily in R&D and its patented technology to delivers game-changing improvements in operating costs for yarn processors in the composites industries. Previously splicing carbon or glass fibres with compressed air turned the fibres to dust as they were so brittle, even though strong longitudinally.

That research led to unique machines which for the first time spliced modern composite materials and Airbond became the only company making pneumatic splicers for the full range of yarns and tows used for composites manufacturing. The innovation in these machines lies in control of the air with newly developed accessories.

Rockwood Composites (Stand M34), experts in the design and manufacture of composites components using compression and bladder moulding, will be showcasing its capabilities at the event.

The Devon-based company designs and produces composite components for a wide range of sectors. This year alone, Rockwood has partnered with HAECO Cabin Solutions to manufacture tooling for HAECO’s Eclipse seat shells. Eclipse is a new line of premium products which will redefine short-haul business class and long-haul premium economy with a patented ‘staggered’ seating arrangement. This arrangement provides a similarly luxurious experience to that found on long-haul business class flights, while also improving the airline’s route economics.

Aro PR and Marketing (Stand K70), specialists in raising the profile of composites, scientific and advanced engineering companies, is showcasing its ‘Outsourced Marketing’ service at Advanced Engineering Show 2019. The company covers every aspect of a traditional PR agency from media relations and content writing to social media management and event management.

This year, it has worked with some big names in the aerospace, composites and engineering sectors and has organised the launch event of a chemical treatment line for a global aerospace and defence company.

Billy McKenna, managing director says: “We look forward to expanding our Outsourced Marketing service to a larger audience and showcasing Aro’s capabilities. Over the past six months, we have grown with the addition of a new account manager and senior account executive. We can’t wait to meet potential and existing customers at the show again this year.”

In the next aisle, Cevotec’s (Stand L74) Fibre Patch Placement system SAMBA empowers commercial aerospace and urban air mobility manufacturers to automate the multi-material lay-up of geometrically complex components in one integrated production system, monitored and guided by self-corrective process control.

SAMBA Multi-production systems feature parallel feeding units for processing up to four different materials and placing them precisely on 3D sandwich cores. The placement unit mounted on a linear axis enables the production of particularly large components. By scaling the patches to DIN-A-4-dimensions, a high material throughput is ensured. An integrated gripper station enables switching to smaller gripper and patch sizes for lay-up in highly-complex areas during the process.

The technology allows for a highly controllable component production cycle, as production itself is composed of a series of individual patch placement cycles, which are controlled by self-corrective, in-process control units. The first control unit identifies the quality of each patch that is cut. A second unit checks the relative position of the patch on the placement gripper once picked up. This real-time control system ensures that only 100% in-spec raw material is being placed exactly at the calculated position.

With SAMBA, manufacturers can improve part quality, equipment reliability and availability. These benefits usually come as an upside to baseline savings of 20% – 60% in production cost and time when switching from manual lay-up to Fibre Patch Placement.

Telsonic UK (Stand I72) is recognised as one of the UK’s leading providers of ultrasonic technology for welding, joining, sieving and cleaning applications. On its stand, the company will feature a comprehensive selection of sample parts, produced using the extensive range of ultrasonic systems and modules.

Telsonic UK also design and manufacture bespoke sonotrodes and tooling, as well as benchtop and floor standing semi-automatic machines within its Poole facility. It offers a comprehensive range of ultrasonic modules and systems for a variety of applications.

British CMM manufacturer, LK Metrology (Stand H4) will launch a new range of machines at this year’s show offering high accuracy and repeatability in a compact footprint. Built at the company's factory near Derby, the new Alterac machines are available in three sizes - 7.7.5, 10.7.5, and 10.7.7.

Alterac CMMs are equally at home in an inspection department or on the shopfloor, especially as pneumatic mounts isolate the CMM well from nearby sources of low frequency vibration such as large machinery. The CMM control may be either stand-alone, or integrated into the machine base with a keyboard on an arm at the side, giving the customer a choice that best suits the installation site. The latter option also facilitates relocation of the equipment once installed. The use of Renishaw encoders with 0.05μm resolution optical scales for high volumetric accuracy not only leads to outstanding metrology but also prevents the ingress of contaminants.

Measurements taken with a touch-trigger probe at a series of points, ideal for acquiring information on dimensional accuracy, is increasingly being augmented by continuous-contact probing (analogue scanning) and laser scanning to allow high speed collection of data on complex freeform surfaces. Alterac measuring machines are able to deploy all three types of sensor. Such flexible data acquisition boosts measurement throughput to avoid bottlenecks in the metrology department.

These CMMs are available with LK’s CAMIO8 DMIS-based, multi-sensor software enabling programming and measurement based on 3D CAD data and comprehensive reporting.

Next up is Micro-Epsilon UK (Stand E6) who will showcase its full range of sensor technologies, including non-contact capacitive, eddy current and laser triangulation displacement sensors, as well as 2D/3D laser profile sensors, thermal imagers and colour sensors. In addition, the stand will feature interactive product demonstrations.

The company’s optoNCDT 1420 series of laser displacement sensor sensors are suitable for a variety of medium-to-high volume applications in automation, machine building and systems integration, particularly where conventional laser sensors have reached the limits of their performance capabilities. The sensors are extremely compact, lightweight and so can be mounted in tight spaces on machines or other difficult-to-access locations. Designed for high precision, high speed, dynamic displacement, distance and position measurement applications, the sensors offer an adjustable measuring rate up to 4kHz and an excellent price-performance ratio, particularly for high volume OEM applications.

For those with a need to measure colour, the stand will feature a demonstration of the colorCONTROL ACS7000, an inline high-speed colour measurement system that measures the actual colour of the target by identifying the coordinates in the colour space. The system can be set up to continually monitor a production process and output the colour measurement via Ethernet, EtherCAT or RS422.

Micro-Epsilon’s moldCONTROL inline thermography system detects variations in quality by using a high speed, high resolution infrared thermal imaging camera. It records the entire component in up to six different views and examines it. The principle is simple: a thermoIMAGER TIM thermal imaging camera records the infrared radiation emanating from the mould and visualises it. The temperature distribution provides a quality statement about incorrect temperature control of the mould, malfunction of the tool temperature, visible geometry errors and hidden defects. On the stand, the demonstration involves the temperature measurement of plastic injection moulded Lego bricks. Also, on the stand will be a demonstration of the gapCONTROL non-contact laser profile scanner. This sensor is designed specifically for the measurement of gaps and edges.

Meanwhile, Bruker Alicona’s (Stand C11), Pick & Place inspection system is an automation solution that makes it possible to set up a complete automated inspection process within ten minutes. In this case an optical measurement system is extended with a robot arm to automatically pick, place, measure and sort components. Alicona says Pick & Place can also be used in smaller production environments and pays for itself within ten months.

The system is based on the interaction between an administrator, who pre-defines automation processes, the collaborative robot for the manipulation and placing of components, as well as high-resolution optical 3D measurement technology. The possible connection to existing production systems including ERP facilitates adaptive production planning.

The machined component is removed from the machine by the robot, clamped on the measuring system and measured automatically. Depending on the manufacturing strategy, there are different options of continuing the production process afterwards.

The system can be set up with only three steps with no programming knowledge required. The robot handles component manipulation including the positioning on the measuring system and further sorting in OK/NO OK pallets. Regardless of the number of components, only four parts per pallet have to be pre-defined. At the push of a button the operator starts the entire process in production.

Pick & Place is also used in conjunction with Machine Tools. The machined component is removed from the machine by the robot, clamped automatically on the measurement solution and measured automatically. Depending on the manufacturing strategy, there are different options of continuing the production process after a measurement. Either the measurement result is fed back into the machine tool following a closed loop strategy where machine parameters are corrected automatically, and manufacturing continues in a self-controlling method. Alternatively, automatic sorting into OK/NOT OK pallets takes place.

Elsewhere, both Compotech UK and Flexix will be represented on (Stand P8) at Advanced Engineering. Compotech now has a full range of capabilities for composites and fibreglass production with its new Hungarian-based lower volume RTM and hand lay-up facilities now on stream complementing its tried and trusted SMC capacity. Flexix is new to the UK market this year, but with over 40 years’ experience in providing solutions in rubber, rubber-metal and elastomers will have a range of solutions, including automotive and specialist rail track products, etc.

Moving on, AM Solutions (Stand A6) a brand of the Rösler Group with industrial technical partners, Hirtenberger Engineered Solutions, Post Process Technologies, GPainnova and Cipres, offers a comprehensive range of services for post processing and surface finishing of additive manufactured (AM) and 3D printed components. Services include: removal of residual power and support structures, refining the surface and polishing the surface. AM Solutions systems are also capable of integration into an IoT based AM manufacturing environment.

A seasoned exhibitor at Advanced Engineering, Connect 2 Cleanrooms (C2C) will showcase its bespoke modular cleanrooms on (Stand C6), to enable companies to convert parts of existing facilities into classified clean environments.

Every company’s process and facility are unique, so C2C works collaboratively to develop the most appropriate cleanroom to transform production, assembly and inspection areas - balancing process flow with the factors that provide regulatory compliance, such as air changes and pressure differential. Through site surveys, technical support and digital modelling, C2C has a robust design package that ensures the technical specification will deliver on its requirements.

Its freestanding structures use HEPA filtration, 99.99% efficient at 0.3µm, to process and deliver the high volume of clean air needed to achieve particle concentration levels and air change rates detailed in ISO 14644-1:2015.

Engis UK (Stand I50) the European Division of Engis Corporation, specialists in super-abrasive finishing systems, will showcase a selection of surface engineering solutions, including diamond and CBN grinding wheels, abrasive slurries and mould polishing compounds.

With over eight decades of expertise in the design and manufacture of lapping and polishing solutions, from consumables to complete installations, Engis offers customers a full systems approach, with the ability in its specialised development laboratories to create tailored systems to achieve even the most challenging superfinishing objectives.

R-Tech Materials (Stand L66) says it has recently become the first test laboratory in the UK to be awarded the prestigious Fit4Nuclear badge of recognition. This award, developed and assessed by the Nuclear Advanced Materials Research Centre (NAMRC), is designed to recognise organisations that meet the business excellence requirements of the nuclear supply chain. The Fit4Nuclear assessment covered the whole of R-Tech Materials’ business, including its steel testing and consultancy businesses, as well as its industry-leading composites testing facility.

As part of the preparation for Fit4N assessment, R-Tech Materials has announced that LRQA has granted approval of an Integrated Management System to the requirements of ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management) and ISO 45001 (health and safety management).

The Fit4N and IMS accreditations complement R-Tech’s existing UKAS and Nadcap accreditations, which recognise the company’s technical competence for testing composite materials. These externally verified accreditations all demonstrate to its global client base its commitment as a business to ensure that it meets the highest standards of quality, health and safety and environmental management.

R-Tech’s composites testing facility is currently seeing rapid growth, both for standard testing, non-standard testing and research and development projects. This growth has been based upon its growing reputation for technical excellence.

JR Technology (Stand N6) will unveil the latest features of the DolphiCam2 Ultrasonic Matrix Array Camera. Launched earlier this year, the DolphiCam2 UT imaging platform brings NDT inspections to a new level with the ability to view the weave of fibre reinforcements, wrinkling and excess resin. New functionality includes: Full Matrix Capture (FMC) allowing the user to save cubes of data, and upload them later to manipulate settings and add filters and Total Focussing Method (TFM) which not only facilitates focusing in the B-scan (2D), but also in the 3D cube of data without the use of an encoder.

DolphiCam2 requires little training to use, is lightweight and extremely reliable and supports a range of frequencies between 0.5 and 15MHz, making it suitable for materials from glass and carbon fibre through to titanium and stainless steel.

CAD/CAM developer Tebis (Stand I42) will feature Release 7 of Tebis CAD/CAM Version 4.0 and ProLeiS MES Version 4.0 software solutions throughout the duration of the show.

Tebis’ knowledge-based machining technology supports database libraries of machine tools, cutting tools with machining parameters, machining features, CNC toolpath templates and machining process templates. This allows customers’ best machining practices to be built into Tebis database and shared among CAM engineers, which reduces the work pressure on CAM engineers whilst ensuring the best results.

Tebis’ Virtual Machine technology supports machining setup and planning, collision-free CNC toolpath calculation, simulation and verification. This is especially beneficial to customers for 2.5D to 5-axis milling, trimming, laser cutting, mill-turn as well as robotic machining. Tebis is renowned for generating efficient and reliable toolpaths while ensuring very high product quality.

Another exhibitor at the is Evonik. For almost 50 years the aerospace industry has been using Rohacell foam to create sandwich-design composite components. This lightweight, structural core material reduces the overall cost of composite parts and is a cost- and energy-saving alternative to honeycomb-cored parts. It is an easy choice for these demanding aerospace components since the latest Rohacell Hero foam meets requirements for damage tolerance and impact damage visibility and shows a high elongation at break and excellent strength to weight ratio.

The foam lightens part weight by up to 20% and reduces unit production costs by up to 30%, while reducing processing time by up to 60%. Hero is the perfect fit for automated fibre placement, automated tape laying and automated preforming/RTM process. Visit Evonik (Stand J30) and talk to specialists to learn more about Rohacell Hero and other foam products.

A team of metal part heat treatment, PVD hard coating and vacuum brazing experts will be sharing their knowledge on the Wallwork Group (Stand M102). Many advances in wear part performance and endurance have come from improved metal heat treatment processes, the development of lubricious hard coatings and the ability to join different metals with ever stronger bonds through vacuum brazing. The array of choices facing design engineers is a challenge in in itself.

To help engineers adapt to EU REACh and USA OSHA regulations, Wallwork has produced a white paper on the benefits of their in-house developed PVD coatings that provide superior replacements to hard chromium plating. Typical is Nitron CA, which is twice as hard as HCP and forms a good bond to the substrate.

Throughout 2019, the group has continued to invest in additional vacuum furnace capacity, aluminium heat treatment and in a new £750,000 Tufftride and Tufftride QPQ process line. With ISO9100 and ISO9001 accreditations and many aerospace prime approvals, the company also provides extensive in-house research and development and testing services. A dedicated commercial vehicle fleet ensures a fast and efficient turnaround of orders.

Lastly, Rhodes Interform (Stand L50), a specialist in bespoke composite and metal forming machinery, will be demonstrating its expertise in superplastic forming and diffusion bonding.

The company designs, manufactures and installs titanium and aluminium forming cells for leading aerospace and automotive manufacturers worldwide. This recently included designing and manufacturing a world-class composite forming facility at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (ARMC). The composite forming press is being used as part of a state-of-the-art facility to assist UK companies to stay at the leading edge of composite development.

Rhodes Interform’s composite machinery is used to produce structural components for production road cars as well as flight critical components for a variety of aircraft. The company also offers a wide range of cold forming technologies for specialist metalforming applications across a number of industrial sectors.

Related Articles

Advanced Engineering UK 2015 review

A video review providing an insight from the show floor with interviews from visitors, industry and exhibitors from some of the industry’s leading players
5 years ago Videos
Most recent Articles