Rhodes Interform, a specialist in bespoke composite and metal forming machinery, has recently completed the installation and testing of a ‘world class’ composite forming facility at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). The company was celebrating this week when Senior Design Engineer Ben Jennings won Composites UK’s Employee of the Year Award for his work on the Project.
The AMRC’s brief was to design, develop and manufacture a composite press that could ‘do it all’ as it would be used as a facility to assist a wide range of UK companies to stay at the leading edge of composite development.
The state of the art facility, comprising of a 10,000 kN hydraulic press with six axis loading, high pressure RTM, twin die transfer tables, thermal fluid heating system and die splitter, is capable of a wide range of composite forming including Open and Closed Moulding, Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM), Prepreg, Compression Moulding and Thermoplastics. The project attracted funding from the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).
Rhodes Interform, part of Group Rhodes, based in Wakefield, worked very closely with the AMRC team throughout the design and manufacture phase of the project ensuring that the bespoke equipment was delivered both on time and to the client’s exacting specifications.
Mark Ridgway OBE, CEO of Rhodes Interform, said: “This project has been a huge success as a result of great communication, teamworking and collaboration between our team and the AMRC.
We are very proud to have manufactured a composite press that will be used by some of the world’s leading manufacturing companies to develop new technologies.”
AMRC Composite Centre Research Engineer, Darren Wells, said: “It was great to support UK industry to build such a unique and capable piece of equipment. This press will allow us to take on a wide and varied range of projects for many years to come.”
The machine will be available for use by companies looking to develop their composite capability through Research and Development. The facility has already been used as part of a successful joint venture to develop the future chassis of a UK based performance automotive company. This project is expected to evolve into full component production, helping to bring hundreds of jobs to the Yorkshire region.