On Friday, the University of Exeter opened its Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) to the public. VIPS, including business leaders, joined CALM’s partners, University engineers and managers at this event. CALM houses machines that can work in several materials, allowing for a huge range of possibilities in potential products. Professor Ken Evans, Dean of the University’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, says: “Additive Layer Manufacturing is already a strength at the University of Exeter and we are extremely proud of this new centre, which is unique in the UK. It includes the UK’s only EOSINT P800, which can build parts at temperatures up to 385°C and is the world’s first system that enables production using high-performance polymers.”
CALM is supported by EADS and is part financed by the European Union with £1.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund 2007-2013, under the competitiveness operating programme. Dr Jean Botti, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Committee member of EADS, said: “EADS is very pleased to partner with leading academic institutions like the University of Exeter who are developing technical centres of excellence that will yield scientific benefits in a number of different domains. Our partnership with Exeter is a continuation of our strategy to access the tremendous technical talent that exists across the UK.”
Dr. Hans J. Langer, founder and CEO of EOS adds: “Partnering with the University of Exeter to provide additive manufacturing facilities for the Southwest of the UK will further help to raise awareness for a technology that is currently shifting paradigms in design and manufacturing. We are also looking forward to expanding the use of the PEEK material, which is being processed on the P800, in the aerospace, medical and motorsports arena. With another plastic system from EOS, the EOSINT P 100, the University can offer even more options for plastic laser-sintering.”
High-performance materials, including PEEK, are mechanically strong, and wear-resistant in the toughest of operating environments. Parts made of PEEK are being developed as an alternative to metals for applications including aerospace parts and medical instruments. As a result, the manufacturing process is being simplified by making it easier, cheaper and quicker to make prototypes and products.
Dr Sara Flint, Commercial Manager for CALM, said: “CALM will bring a unique set of facilities to the South West, opening up a wealth of opportunities for businesses. I look forward to welcoming companies to CALM and I encourage anyone who is developing a product to get in touch and discover what we can offer.”
Businesses that are producing prototypes and developing products can now benefit from this pioneering £2.6 million facility at the University of Exeter. The facility will enable businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers to harness the potential of additive manufacturing. The centre is offering heavily subsidised rates to SME’s in Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire and Cornwall, giving smaller businesses access to world-class facilities at affordable prices. With this EOS manufacturing technology, complex or bespoke parts and complete products can be created by building them up one layer at a time via laser-sintering, thus significantly reducing the time it takes to get a product from the design stage into market. Businesses will also benefit from the technical expertise of CALM staff, gained through their experience in industry and engineering research.
The University of Exeter has an established reputation for materials research and additive layer manufacturing expertise and facilities. The University has previously worked with companies to develop products as diverse as medical implants, car parts and a museum clock through additive layer manufacturing.
“By working with businesses at CALM, we will help ensure that the South West region plays a major part in shaping the future of manufacturing.”
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