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ASTUTE 2020

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Company
  • Company
  • Affresol Limited
  • Amcanu Ltd.
  • Calon Cardio-Technology Ltd.
  • Cambrian Printers Ltd.
  • Camplas Technology Ltd.
  • Celsa Steel UK
  • Champion Manufacturing (Safety Headwear) Ltd.
  • Cintec Ltd.
  • Continental Teves UK Ltd.
  • Crossflow Energy Company Ltd.
  • CSM Pressing Ltd.
  • Cyden Ltd.
  • DB Mouldings Ltd.
  • Divemex Ltd. & CSM Pressing Ltd.
  • DTR Medical Ltd.
  • Eco-Sphere Worldwide Limited
  • Electronic Motion Systems Ltd.
  • Envirowales Ltd.
  • Fishtec (BVG Airflow)
  • Flamgard-Calidar Engineering Limited
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Frontier Medical Ltd.
  • FSG Tool & Die Ltd.
  • Gomer Press Limited
  • Haemair Ltd.
  • HI-LEX Cable Systems Co. Ltd.
  • Kautex Textron CVS Ltd.
  • LSN Diffusion
  • Lyte Industries (Wales) Ltd.
  • Marine Power Systems Ltd.
  • Markes International Ltd.
  • Morvus Technology Ltd.
  • Moulded Foams Ltd.
  • Ortho Clinical Diagnostics
  • Perpetuus Carbon Technologies Ltd.
  • PPA Limited
  • Pro-Flow Solutions Ltd.
  • Qioptiq Limited
  • R-Tek Ltd.
  • Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd.
  • Renishaw plc.
  • Seminar Components (UK) Ltd.
  • Silverwing Ltd.
  • Steritouch Ltd.
  • Styrene Systems Ltd.
  • SunScape Systems Ltd.
  • SymlConnect Ltd.
  • Tata Steel Strip Products UK
  • TEAM Precision Pipe Assemblies Ltd.
  • The Aluminium Lighting Company Ltd.
  • The British Rototherm Company Ltd.
  • The Fifth Wheel Company Ltd.
  • TWI Limited
  • Voltcom Ltd.
  • Weartech International Ltd.
  • WorksafePAT Ltd.
  • Zimmer Biomet
Institution
  • Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
  • Cardiff University
  • Swansea University
  • University of South Wales
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Expertise
  • Expertise
  • Computational Engineering Modelling
  • Advanced Materials Technology
  • Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Location
  • Location
  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Bridgend
  • Caerphilly
  • Cardiff
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Ceredigion
  • Conwy
  • Denbigshire
  • Flintshire
  • Gwynedd
  • Isle of Anglesey
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Monmouthshire
  • Neath/Port Talbot
  • Newport
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Powys
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Swansea
  • The Vale of Glamorgan
  • Torfaen
  • Wrexham
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    Affresol Limited - Manufacturing of TPR: Applying advanced technology to improve the product, technology, control and monitoring

    Abstract:

    Affresol Ltd manufactures a range of products using a new type of composite material called Thermo Poly Rock (TPR). TPR is more sustainable than concrete and Affresol have already successfully launched several products utilising the material. TPR uses waste plastics diverted from landfill as a raw material and the production is currently based on empirical knowledge of how the production should be set up in order to ensure that the product complies to the designed standards.

    The project will capture the existing knowledge, introduce a state of the art system to monitor and control key production processes and manage the collected data to produce meaningful information that can be used to increase automation and autonomy of the utilised systems. The outcome of the project will boost the production of TPR, provide the market with a sustainable alternative to concrete and reduce the amounts of waste plastic ending in UK landfills.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Completed

    Calon Cardio-Technology Ltd. - Research into improving VADs computational modelling platform (and ALM Feasibility)

    Abstract:

    Calon Cardio‐Technology Ltd. (Calon) have been developing Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) in close collaboration with Swansea University since 2007. The company has been successful in attracting investment to ensure its growth in a very competitive market. The company has conducted lab and small scale in vivo experiments and aims to start clinical trials in 2018.

    The current project will consist of five work packages, four will heavily utilise the available high performance computing platforms: the newly commissioned Engineering cluster and ASTUTE 2020 high performance workstations. The fifth work package will utilise the Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) capability at the College of Engineering.
    Three of the four computational work packages will investigate the pump performance in reallife conditions (flow under heart pulsatile pressure, modelling blood as a multiphase fluid, flow patterns in a 3D model of real‐life failed left ventricle). The fourth is aimed at improving the current blood damage prediction capabilities. Experimental data needed for benchmarking the blood damage model will come from Calon’s labs.

    The outcome of the current project will expand knowledge of the relationship between blood flow in complex geometries and VAD’s hydraulic and haemolytic performance, and utilising the expanded knowledge in product development to shorten time to market. Additionally, the feasibility of additive layer manufacturing (ALM) in VADs manufacturing will be assessed.

    The impact of the project will be assessed by:

    • Continued attraction of funds to the company by remaining competitive through advanced technology development.
    • Increased exposure of the company through publications and presence at international conferences.
    • Raised profile of Swansea University through research publication.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea Univeristy

    Status: Ongoing

    Calon Cardio-Technology Ltd. - Research into modelling of blood flow in medical devices

    Abstract:

    Calon Cardio Technology have been developing heart pump technologies in close collaboration with Swansea University since 2007 and focus on their ventricular assist device, the miniVAD. The company's success has attracted investment to ensure the growth of the company. The company has conducted lab and in-vivo experiments and aims to obtain the first human data in 2017¹

    The project consists of phased work with gateway approvals. With a target of obtaining human data in 2017, the company needs to come to a manufacturing solution without compromising performance. The role of computational modelling is to highlight potential problems and avoid a costly iterative experimental process.
    The project focuses on the development of more accurate modelling methods for blood damage based on an improved damage model characterisation method and a more accurate reproduction of experimental conditions.
    The development of a suitable technique to assess the effect of the pump on pulsatility is included as a work phase. Finally, the project will also investigate the distribution of transported blood components in the flow, focussing first on heterogeneous haematocrit modelling and then on the factors affecting clotting. The work will be undertaken using experimental data from published literature for benchmarking and experimental data obtained using the company's own pump design.

    The outcomes are increased knowledge of blood flow modelling methods, flow behaviour and thus an applied result for the company in the form of assessed performance of blood pumps in general and VADs in particular.

    The impact is assessed to be: Continued attraction of funds to the company by remaining competitive though advanced technology development. Increased exposure of the company through publications and presence at trade/academic conference.
    Raised profile of the HEI through research publication. [1] http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/wales/140902-/

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling 

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Completed

    Read more about this case study

    Camplas Technology Ltd. - Research into an expert system for manufacturing GRP tanks and devices

    Abstract:

    Camplas Technology Ltd, based in Bridgend, specialises in manufacturing glass reinforced plastic (GRP) tanks of various sizes that are used either above or underground. Depending on the specific application, tanks are subjected to various types of loadings such as liquid inner pressure, outer ground pressure, vacuum, ageing, fatigue and wind loads. The company has invested heavily in R&D, and in 1985 built its first computer controlled helical filament winding machine. Since then, the company has manufactured several thousand tanks that conform to BS4994 –1987. The company is dedicated to the improvement of the environment through the development of the best available technology at affordable cost, particularly in the fields of pollution prevention, improvement in water quality and storm control.
    Camplas is now seeking help from ASTUTE 2020 to develop a user friendly custom‐made computer‐based expert system to provide manufacturing guidance that fulfils the new requirements of the BS EN13121‐3:2016 standard. Advanced computational modelling, support by experimental trials on decommissioned GRP tanks will be used to validate and guide the development of the computer system.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling, Advanced Materials Technology & Manufacturing Systems Engineering

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Camplas Technology Ltd. - Wave generator flotation device

    Abstract:

    Camplas Technology Ltd., based in Bridgend, specialises in manufacturing glass reinforced plastic (GRP) tanks of various scales.
    Camplas Technology Ltd. has teamed up locally with Marine Power Systems Ltd. to manufacture a custom GRP tank to be used as a floater in a novel marine power system to be used to harvest wave energy. The proposed floater has to sustain high level of external pressure when immersed in sea water and take the loads imposed by the dynamic anchoring system.

    Camplas Technology Ltd. has manufactured several thousand tanks by the helical filament winding process; however, the proposed floater is beyond the scope of the current design and manufacturing standards and will require an in-depth analysis from first principles.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Completed

    Celsa Steel UK - Research into Optimized Operation and Improved Power Profile for an AC Electrical Arc Furnace (EAF)

    Abstract:

    Based at two sites in Cardiff, Celsa Manufacturing UK Ltd. is the largest producer of steel reinforcing bar in the UK and one of the largest manufacturers of other steel long products (including wire rod, flat bars, channels and angles). All steel manufacture is based initially on recycling ferrous scrap metal using the electric arc furnace (EAF) route. The ASTUTE EAST project will study the operation and performance of the EAF at Cardiff and the technical work will include consideration of Static VAR (Reactive Power in Volt-Ampere) Compensation (SVC) equipment to improve the power delivery profile to the furnace.

    The anticipated outcomes will be to optimize the furnace operation and hence reduce power consumption, eliminate the voltage flickers, and reduce the electrode consumption per tonne of steel produced. The impact of the project, if successful, will contribute to enhanced operation of the arc furnace as well as reduced cost of production of steel made in this method.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Cintec Ltd. - Manufacturing process development for innovative anchoring and reinforcement system (ANCHOR-SYS)

    Abstract:

    Cintec Ltd is a designer and manufacturer of the pre‐eminent anchoring solution for masonry structures operating internationally. The patented Cintec anchoring system is constructed by injecting a proprietary cementitious fluid grout around a metal tie enclosed in a fabric sock, which has already been placed in an oversized drilled hole. The engineered solution reinforces an array of materials — stone, concrete, clay, terra cotta, timber — in historical buildings, masonry bridges, monuments, railway structures, retaining walls, without visibly altering the structure’s appearance.

    A new anchor recently designed for seismic loadings has proven to be too expensive to manufacture and therefore Cintec redesigned the product. This project aims at conceiving manufacturing process and validating the new device, ensuring it exceeds required performance criteria.

    The project is composed of six phases and comprises engineering review, computational/ investigation and experimental testing. The collaborative project is based on the extensive experience of the company and on the technical expertise of the research team at Cardiff University. The outcome of the research will provide the company with an economically competitive and innovative anchoring solution to be employed in earthquake‐supscetible constructions worldwide.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Computational Engineering Modelling 

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Ongoing

    Continental Teves UK Ltd. - Additive Manufacturing and Robotics to support improved responses to increased flexibility

    Abstract:

    Continental Teves manufacture automotive braking systems. The business is evolving from a high volume to a lower volume manufacturer supplying significantly larger number of Automotive companies and the after‐market.
    This transition to lower volume, across a wider product range requires the company to evolve, develop and deploy new technologies to flexibly adapt to this new situation. This collaborative research will assess the feasibility of introducing advanced robotics and additive layer manufacturing to reduce lead time and improve the flexibility and cost competitiveness of the production lines.
    The collaborative research will assist the company in developing a digital manufacturing capability that aligns with the roadmap to secure the future of the factory.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Ongoing

    Crossflow Energy Company Ltd. - Research into the behaviour of a vertical axis wind turbine under transient wind loading

    Abstract:

    Crossflow Energy Company Ltd., based in Port Talbot, are developing a range of novel Vertical Axis Wind Turbines aimed at a niche market in the mid-range (50-500kW) Wind Turbine sector. The company has previously worked with ASTUTE on research into the aerodynamic flow of air through the turbine under steady state conditions. This has helped them secure substantial investment to allow the construction of a full-size proof of concept turbine in Port Talbot.

    A new project with ASTUTE 2020 has now been proposed that will extend the previous research to cover transient wind loading conditions (as associated with sudden wind gusts and changes of wind direction) so that the behaviour of the turbines under realistic conditions can be investigated.

    If successful, this research will enable the company to design the optimised pre-production turbine for commercial manufacture.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Cyden Ltd. - New market opportunities for consumer hair removal devices

    Abstract:

    The current hair removal device manufactured by Cyden Ltd is a product targeted at the consumer market. It is distributed by Braun as well as sold directly and is one of the two leading products of its type on the market in terms of units sold. It is intended for a particular range of skin and hair types and tones. The aim of this project is to identify improvements and modifications to the existing product in order to cater for a wider range of skin and hair types and tones. This would then lead to increased market penetration and hence increased manufacturing, all of which is done in WWV. The project will develop customised 2D and 3D computer models of light‐tissue interaction (based on existing models) for a range of hair types and skin/hair tones. These will be customised for the company using experimental data on a range of light sources and sample client groups‐ supplied by the company. The expected outcomes are:
    - new product for company and the market
    - increased jobs
    - Increased investment by the company.

    Expertise: Computational Modelling Engineering

    Academic Partner: University of Wales Trinity Saint David

    Divemex Ltd. & CSM Pressing Ltd. - Anchor dragging evaluation

    Abstract:

    Background: Divemex are experienced in maritime industries and recognised the need for a new type of anchor (patent has been applied for and granted), that can be accurately deployed with minimal dragging to embed it. CSM Pressings have been engaged as the manufacturing partner for the product.

    Project: To evaluate the performance and model key parameters, particularly how it embeds in the sea floor, to determine opportunities for further optimisation, including manufacturing.

    Outcome: To determine performance parameters and a testing methodology in conjunction with Divemex. Demonstrate performance under varying deployment and recovery conditions, with particular reference to accuracy/repeatability of launch position and embedded final position.

    Impact: Anchor design is historically empirical in nature and has seen little recent evolution. Current designs often drag some distance before the required engagement with the sea floor, and laying anchors can, therefore, involve several attempts before the anchor is confidently fixed. This new type of anchor that can improve the fixing process and be accurately positioned could replace the current practice of deploying a large concrete block leading to a reduction in environmental impact.
    The use of computational analysis techniques and rigorous testing will allow this anchor to be scientifically optimised, rather than being based exclusively upon current best practice.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Ongoing

    Eco-Sphere Worldwide Limited - Food waste digestion process: Analysis, Modelling Application

    Abstract:

    15 million tonnes of food waste are being produced every year in the UK and the waste is typically disposed of in bins and then collected at a cost to the waste producer. Food digester manufacturer EcoSphere, is targeting in reducing the volume of this waste, reducing the cost of disposal and is working towards creating value from this waste that will benefit the “owner” of it. ASTUTE 2020 will assist the company in engineering a state of the art digester that will treat food waste more efficiently, reduce waste’s volume up to 90% and create a competitive advantage for a product that will be manufactured within West Wales and Valleys. The project will conduct research on food waste treatment technologies, model the digester operation, develop a smart control system for the digester and finally, suggest improvements and enhancements to be included by the company.

    Expertise:Manufacturing Systems Engineering

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University & Aberystwyth University

    Status: Ongoing

    Envirowales Ltd. - Research into high value lead alloys: Review of applications related to novel anode technology

    Abstract:

    Envirowales Limited recycle scrap lead acid batteries at their manufacturing base in Ebbw Vale. The plant opened in 2006 and is one of the most modern lead recycling facilities in Europe, employing around 140 people in the local economy.

    Currently, the lead is recovered and purified before being sold into a range of standard markets that include the construction industry and further battery manufacture. Recently the company has identified higher value-added applications for lead that include specialist anodes used in the global mining industry for recovery of metals such as copper and zinc from their ores.

    To target this market they need to undertake extensive research into the specialised lead alloys that are required for this application. Envirowales would thus like to collaborate with ASTUTE 2020 to utilise Swansea University’s expertise in electrochemistry and advanced materials. In the first instance, this will involve a review of existing technology. It is intended that this will lead on to a larger Collaborative R&D project that will look into potentially developing new alloy compositions that could be manufactured at Ebbw Vale, leading to increased annual revenue in excess of £1 Million for the plant.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Flamgard-Calidar Engineering Limited - Research into performance of fire damper systemsusing computational modelling

    Abstract:

    Flamgard‐Calidair manufacture high specification heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) dampers and associated equipment for the global oil and gas, nuclear, marine, power generation, tunnel and metro and industrial sectors.
    Flamgard‐Calidair are working towards developing improved products meeting tighter specifications with the aim of being able to increase their market share within the nuclear sector, which is demanding tighter specifications.
    This project will focus on research using computational modelling of the damper systems to enhance the performance of the dampers in terms of integrity, insulation and leakage after prolonged exposure to a fire.
    This research will allow Flamgard‐Calidair to produce more advanced damper systems to meet current and future demand, allowing the company to remain at the forefront of this market.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Ford Motor Company - Research into computational fluid dynamics modelling of cutting fluid in pipeword

    Abstract:

    Ford’s Bridgend Engine Plant employs over 1,800 people and produces 634,000 petrol engines per year, with plant turnover around £1billion per annum. In addition to the assembly of engine components there is extensive machining work on cylinder heads and engine blocks using automated cutting machines. Improvements in machining productivity are a high priority.

    The objective of the research project is to develop a better understanding of the flow characteristics of the cutting fluid used in the machining operation and how it interacts with the surrounding pipework that transfers it to and from the cutting machines. The work will utilise Swansea University’s expertise in Computational Engineering Modelling. Expected outcomes are enabling the company to ensure durability of the fluid transport system. Impacts in the longer term will be to inform future decisions on the spatial layout of new pipework.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Frontier Medical Ltd. - Research into the development of methodologies for enhanced and sustainable profitability in injection moulding

    Abstract:

    Frontier Medical, based in Blackwood, is one of the leading suppliers of consumable products and services to healthcare providers. The company has established a dedicated team to develop a plan to enhance its injection moulding operations in order to improve profitability, productivity and product quality. The Frontier Medical team is seeking ASTUTE 2020 help and advice to develop a procedure to achieve this goal.

    The team has identified that selection of the processing parameters is empirical and based on operators’ previous experience. By gaining a deeper insight into the fundamental physical practices involved in the injection moulding process, the company feels it can make substantial savings and improvements, anticipating a lower energy usage, a lower material usage and costs, reduced cycle times, an improved product quality, and a systematic production monitoring and management control system, all of which can enhance profitability.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University 

    Read more about this case study

    FSG Tool & Die Ltd. - Computational and Experimental Investigations into a Wickless Free Smooth-wall Aluminium Food Packaging Tray Mould Tool

    Abstract:

    As toolmakers, FSG Tool & Die Ltd (FSG) has designed and built manufacturing systems for market leading manufacturers for the last 30 years, including the design of pressing tools for the process industry.

    FSG are seeking ASTUTE2020 team academic expertise to significantly improve the performance of the press tooling components used in the manufacture of standard and smooth wall, round and irregular aluminium foil containers, for applications such as take-away food, frozen foods,desserts and airline meals.

    This collaborative research aims at developing forming tools to effectively produce aluminium foil trays consistently, minimising the appearance of unsightly defects. With the current moulds, these defects frequently occur at the corners of the upper surface of the tray as the sharp edge of the tray is being folded, resulting in buckling/wrinkling at these corners.

    It is expected that the collaboration will open up the possibility of the development of a 2 compartment tray. This would be a significant step forward in packaging & tool design, giving the company a leading edge over its competitors, with a direct impact on company investment, profit and increased workforce.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Gomer Press Limited - Historical Trend Analysis

    Abstract:

    Gomer press have a monitoring system that records production on each machine in the plant.
    They wish to archive that historical data and then use it to streamline the business by optimising the workflow on the machines.
    To have this in place would create a job for an assistant bindery/production manager, because it would give us the means to start to step back from day to day production concerns and manage longer term trends and individual and machine performance.
    It would also definitely also help safeguard jobs because it is a vital tool to help manage performance in a simple way that is not currently possible, but definitely necessary.

    Expertise: Manufactuirngsystems Engineering

    Academic Partner: Aberystwyth University

    Status: Ongoing

    Kautex Textron CVS Ltd. - Research into liquid flow patterns through micro nozzles

    Abstract:

    This project involves  experimentation and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of fluidic chip nozzles.  The primary aim is to investigate the performance of two  nozzles, designed by the company, through high-speed photography and CFD analysis. The secondary  aim is to increase the understanding of fluid  flow  within such nozzles to allow  nozzle performance characteristics to be met through geometry changes.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Completed

    Read more about this case study

    Lyte Industries (Wales) Ltd. - Research into enhancing the performance of aluminium and fibre glass plastic ladders

    Abstract:

    Lyte Industries (Wales) Ltd., “Lyte”, was established in 1947 and is based in Swansea, where it manufactures an extensive range of high-performance steps, ladders, towers and bespoke access equipment for domestic, trade and industrial users. To meet enhanced customer requirements and to comply with new legislative European standard, the company plans to introduce a new range of products with superior performance attributes.

    Lyte is, therefore, looking to collaborate with Swansea University’s ASTUTE 2020 team to use computational modelling to research the variation of mechanical stresses within its ladders and access equipment. This will include a comparison of new emerging materials (e.g. advanced composites) against more traditional materials (e.g. aluminium). The University’s electron microscopes will also be used to gain an understanding of microstructural changes resulting in the material failure.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology & Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Lyte Industries (Wales) Ltd. - Research into smart robotic welding platform

    Abstract:

    Lyte Industries (Wales) Ltd., manufacture an extensive range of high performance steps, ladders, towers and bespoke access equipment for domestic, trade and industrial users. To meet enhanced customer requirements for products with superior performance attributes, Lyte has recently invested around £300K in a state‐of‐the‐art Robotic welding platform for aluminium.

    The company is seeking ASTUTE2020 help to improve the weld quality using the robotic process by researching the optimisation of the weld process, including the pre‐process set‐up and the implementation of closed loop vision guided control of the robotic welding platform.

    Phase I will cover pre‐welding set up, and provides recommendations for best practices to avoid impairment of the process. Phase II will be deal with the optimisation of the weld parameters in the robotic welding cell. Phase III will consider an advanced computational modelling simulations to advise on the optimum welding processing conditions in terms of welding speed, power and angle, thermal conditions and welding path.

    The outcome of this research project will be to improve Lyte production technologies and products through the use and integration of smart robots and sensors technology. In addition, the collaboration work will result in an extensive knowledge transfer and understanding of the robotic welding platform to both parties.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Advanced Materials Technology & Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Marine Power Systems Ltd. - Research into components of a wave energy converter

    Abstract:

    Marine Power Systems, based in Swansea, is developing a wave energy converter device that addresses the many challenges of extracting wave energy at an acceptable cost.

    A critical component of the device is a continuously wound glass reinforced plastic float, to be manufactured by a local composite specialist. Computational research of this component will allow Marine Power Systems to assess the suitability of the design and significantly de-risk the build and test stage of the project. As a composite material is being used, specialist analysis techniques are required that were not found in the local supply chain.

    ASTUTE 2020 will create suitable computational models of the component using information supplied by Marine Power Systems and run finite element analysis on the structure.
    The results of this project will allow confidence that the design is fit for the intended application (a world first) and highlight any improvement that could be made to the full-scale device.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Read more about this case study

    Markes International Ltd. - Resilient Manufacturing Systems and Supply Chains

    Abstract:

    Markes International, headquartered in Llantrisant, RCT, are one of the world leading developers and manufacturers of scientific instruments for thermal desorption and time of flight mass spectrometry. In 2015 it won a Queen's Award for Enterprise in the “International Trade” category.

    Products designed and manufactured by Markes are used in a variety of application areas, including:

    • Environmental monitoring – the detection of hazardous chemicals in air, water and soil
    • Security detection of chemical warfare agents
    • Food analysis quality control & safety
    • Fragrance and aroma profiling
    • Material emissions
    • Geochemical and petrochemical fingerprinting
    • Environmental forensics
    • Breath sampling for disease diagnosis
    • Metabolomic profiling

    There is a growing demand for this technology and Markes has successfully positioned its product range to capitalise in this market for several years. The current work will play a critical role in the company meeting its 2020 growth targets, through enhancing the resilience of their manufacturing systems and supply chains.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Ongoing

    Moulded Foams Ltd. & Champion Manufacturing (Safety Headwear) Ltd. & DB Mouldings Ltd. - Optimising equestrian helmets performance

    Abstract:

    Moulded Foams Ltd. and DB Mouldings have been supplying Champion Manufacturing for many decades with moulded outer shells and foam linings which they incorporate into their top quality riding helmets. Helmets are manufactured to exacting standards and the designs and standards have evolved over many years.

    A new standard will be introduced shortly and although Champion are confident they can meet these standards they consider there is a bigger opportunity to review their design performance using advanced computational modelling techniques and incorporate high value manufacturing methods which are now available. Helmets are manufactured in a range of sizes and there is a complex interaction between the outer shell, foam liner and the head. This collaborative project will utilise the skills of all companies and Cardiff University to research this problem and to improve helmet performance and manufacturing methods.

    Lessons learnt by the research team can also be applied in crash protection systems typically for the automotive sector.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology & Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Ongoing

    Ortho Clinical Diagnostics - Increasing efficiency of robotic dispensing

    Abstract:

    Ortho Clinical Diagnostics manufactures medical tests using advanced manufacturing technologies including robotics. In order to maximise production efficiency they wish to conduct collaborative research on the effects of varying dispenser nozzle shape and the method of machining employed on the accuracy of a robotic process. The research techniques to be used include Micro Electrodischarge Machining, Laser Anemometry and high-speed video imaging.

    The objectives of the project include, the production and testing of prototype dispensing nozzles in a laboratory environment and transfer of the knowledge gained into the manufacturing environment. The impact of the project will be to increase production efficiency and support increasing the number and scale of products manufactured at the facility.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Ongoing

    Perpetuus Carbon Technologies Ltd. - Characterisation of reinforced high density polyethylene (HDPE) using functionalised PCT graphene

    Abstract:

    Perpetuus Carbon Technologies is an advanced nanomaterial manufacturing company in South Wales. The company specialises primarily in surface engineered carbon and graphene nanostructures.

    This aim of this project is to design novel polymer materials, which provide visco-elastic properties required for the design of a lower limb prosthetic foot or orthotic devices, with the additional constraint of enhancing material properties at costs lower than the existing prosthesis/orthosis feet. It is hypothesised that graphene reinforced polymers have the potential to meet this challenge. This material is also potentially suited for 3D printing, which allows for customised prosthesis foot design. The objective of this project (in its initial phase) is to undertake a feasibility study on whether graphene-based polymers can be designed at a micron level in order to deliver the demanding properties that the prosthetic or orthosis may require in term of flexibility and strength. The project will proceed and iterate in three steps: (I) the design of a/the graphene reinforced microstructure; (ii) the manufacture of samples for mechanical testing by injection moulding; and (iii) the mechanical characterisation of the novel material.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Completed

    PPA Limited - Toward the development of impact and ballistic shield composites - body armour protection

    Abstract:

    In the last decade, there has been a rise in the use of guns by criminals and infiltrators. This has also been exacerbated by the high frequency of aircraft hijackings, riots, terrorist attacks and violent robberies. Our cabin crew, military and the police force, nationally, are equipped at different levels of protection using products mainly emanating from USA. We need to have a Welsh manufacturer to make good equipment for our security services applied to transport and public areas. PPA group Ltd has identified constituent materials with impact and ballistic properties to be researched and technology developed for manufacture of the security shield.

    The research to be undertaken will characterise the material under different loadings and assess the bonding agents and matrices formulation. It will then develop optimum resin infusion manufacturing processes. Products will be numerically and experimentally tested for use in security and defence, aerospace, automotive and railway environments.

    The project is expected to deliver a composite protection shield that will capture 0.05% of the UK market estimated at £682.5 Million, hence creating 15 jobs yearly for 5 years as the market share grows by 5% annually.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Pro-Flow Solutions Ltd. - SMART Escape of Water Solution

    Abstract:

    Pro‐Flow Solutions are a small entrepreneurial company based in Tredegar, Gwent. They currently manufacture and sell a device which turns off the water supply when a leak is detected. This device was originally developed with assistance from the ASTUTE project. They now wish to develop a “Smart” version of the product that customers can interact with. The project will involve:

    1. Construction and testing of a system to store and manage data.
    2. Construction and testing of a system to allow customers to interact with the device via the IOT.
    3. Assessment of whether sample data from existing devices can be used with machine learning.

    A Smart version of the product will significantly widen the market for the device and lead to increased job opportunities and investment in manufacturing the product in WWV.

    Expertise: Manufactruring Systems Engineering

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University & Aberystwyth University

    Status: Ongoing

    Qioptiq Limited - Additive manufactured cellular lattice design for shock isolation

    Abstract:

    Qioptiq is a global leader in the design and manufacture of products for a range of high value manufacturing sectors including defence, aerospace, and medical and life sciences. A core strength of the company lies in its Research and Development capability and the application of this capability to collaborative projects with Higher Education Institutes.

    Qioptiq's products operate in challenging environments often subjected to extreme temperatures and loads. The shock loads involved in some applications are unprecedentedly high and can result in damage to sensitive electronic sensors and components within a product. Qioptiq approached ASTUTE to develop an innovative solution to mitigate the severe loads transmitted to the components within a product by exploiting the complex lattice design and advanced materials afforded through the use of additive manufacturing and computational modelling. The proposed concept is unique, a feasibility study proved the approach to be highly effective offering significant potential to generate new IP. The development work will not only produce a functioning prototype but contribute to the knowledge required to design and analyse such components.

    As a minimum, it is anticipated that the development work will increases company revenues by £1 million per annum and require additional skilled personnel to be recruited.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology & Computational Engineering Modelling 

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Ongoing

    Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd. - Testing and evaluation of the physical properties of an innovative modular sleeping system designed as protection for life threatening conditions.

    Abstract:

    ROOF (the product) is a water‐resistant insulated all in one padded coat with an integrated sleeping bag, hood, hidden pockets and composite (multi‐layered) interlining ‐ designed to pack‐away into a cross over lightweight and portable shoulder bag.
    The sleeping system is still at its early stages (prototype) and its development is focussed on delivering a final product to be used as a rapid response device to provide shelter to refugees or those suffering from homelessness. Due to the modular nature of the system its applications will eventually extend to Armed Forces sniper units. It will be understood how these applications involve multiple/diverse and
    unpredictable environments in which the garment properties will be the key factor affecting comfort.
    UWTSD will be involved actively in the research and development of procedures including both conventional and non‐destructive tests to ensure the performance of ROOF fits most extreme conditions. It must be mentioned that such a product is both a sleeping bag and a coat for which current standards are only defined individually.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: University of Wales Trinity Saint David

    Seminar Components (UK) Ltd. - Feasibility study into use of advanced analysis methods and alternative materials in bariatric lift and recline seating mechanisms

    Abstract:

    Seminar Components design and manufacture lift and recline chair mechanisms for the health care industry. Market research has identified an increasing demand for bariatric chair mechanisms with greater weight capacities. In order to overcome the challenges in manufacturing such mechanisms, the use of alternative materials will be investigated, along with a more detailed analysis of material behaviour such as fatigue performance and formability using finite element analysis. In addition, research will be conducted into the feasibility of using a computational optimisation method to determine an optimum reclining mechanism geometry given a set of system constraints. This more detailed analysis will allow Seminar Components to produce more advanced precision action seat mechanisms to meet current and future demand, allowing the company to remain at the forefront of this market.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology & Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Silverwing Ltd. - Research into transient magnetic phenomena

    Abstract:

    This project is to conduct research into transient magnetic phenomena to assist in the understanding of the magnetic fields induced during magnetic flux leakage non‐destructive testing. The aim of the project is that the understanding gained will assist the company in making future product enhancements to their magnetic flux leakage NDT systems.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University & University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)

    Status: Ongoing

    Steritouch Ltd. - Research into characteristics of novel polymers

    Abstract:

    Steritouch Limited are a small innovative company with plans for expansion. They are market leaders in the manufacture and supply of antimicrobial additives for incorporation into polymers, paint coatings, rubber and silicone. Steritouch has significant technical expertise and experience in material engineering, particularly polymers, and wishes to conduct collaborative research with Cardiff University into the formulation, extrusion and testing of plastics with novel characteristics, anti-microbial and other characteristics. The aim of the project is to characterise samples of novel polymers with a high potential for industrial applications.

    Expertise: Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Ongoing

    Styrene Systems Ltd. - Feasibility study of a densification and compaction process for waste plastic packaging foam

    Abstract:

    Styrene Systems Ltd is a small SME, based in Pembrokeshire, which manufactures and sells machines that compact waste plastic foam packaging such as Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), Polypropylene (EPP) and Polyethylene (EPE).

    The machines use auger technology to remove air from the foam by either mechanical pressure (Compaction) or both heat and mechanical pressure (Densification). The resulting processed material is dense, has a commercial value and can be re‐used in the circular economy.

    The proposed collaborative research project will examine the various processes that the foam plastic material undergoes such as: shredding, heating and a mechanical compacting process, and their interactions. The aim is to optimise this technology or to create another novel methodology to solve problems inherent in the original approach. An experiment based statistical analysis of the machine process elements and parameters will define the importance, the relevance and the impact of changes on individual stages of the total process.
    Additionally, the company is seeking some guidance in building upon this knowledge to create an advanced computational model of the total process to enable parameters to be optimised without the need to manufacture a large number of trial machines. The latter approach will be developed outside ASTUTE 2020 scheme or in a separate project phase.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    SunScape Systems Ltd. - Carapace Slate Computational Model (CASCOM)

    Abstract:

    SunScape’s primary innovation “Carapace Slate” is a recycled, low-carbon slate composite roof tile with a novel snap-fit fitting assembly that deskills installation and increases worker productivity by over 90%. The collaborative ASTUTE East and SunScape project (CASCOM)
    aims to develop advanced predictive capabilities towards the current in-house composite slate production process. Preliminary experimental studies have identified workable boundary conditions towards slate production on batch-scale with conformity to relevant BBA/BS standards. Practical experimentation has broadly determined key operating variables such as raw materials composition, epoxy formulation and curing conditions. However, such trial-anderror methodology, though successful, is time-consuming and needs to be supported by robust computational models that can help elaborate scientific understanding and the underlying mechanism involving chemical and physical transformation stages.
    The computational models (Structural and CFD) could help identify how the slate and the material properties behave (physical, chemical, thermal) to obtain part strength and rheological information. The predictive model backed with key inputs (experimental findings) from SunScape could then be able to validate the modelling results for practical use during high-volume manufacture. The company will ultimately be able to develop a commercial infrastructure which is reactive to an ever-changing market, by implementing a dynamic and repeatable ‘Smart’ manufacturing solution capable of rapid global growth.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Tata Steel Strip Products UK - Research into air flow in steel manufacturing processes

    Abstract:

    Many operations in the steelmaking process depend on air flow, a prime example being the sintering process for iron ore (prior to charging into the blast furnace), where air is drawn through a bed of the raw material in order to generate heat. The energy required to move the air represents a significant cost in the operations at the Tata Steel plant at Port Talbot.

    Swansea University has extensive research expertise in computational fluid dynamics that has been used, for example, to predict air flows around aircraft structures and wind turbines for example. These techniques could be applied to predict air flow in steelmaking and it is thus felt that a collaboration between Tata Steel and Swansea University could lead to significant energy savings and process improvements at the Port Talbot works.

    This project will research historical process data from the Sinter Plant with aim of developing a larger multi‐phase research project that could also involve additional collaborations from other HEI partners in the ASTUTE 2020 team.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    TEAM Precision Pipe Assemblies Ltd. - Comparing simulation and value stream mapping for cell layout

    Abstract:

    Team manufacture a range of pipework assemblies which have formed or machined end fittings and are manipulated/bent to meet the customer requirements. The company are seeking support in better understanding current capability and capacity and ways to identify possible improvements.

    This collaborative project will compare the results from Value Stream Mapping and Discrete Event Simulation and optimisation methods.

    Expertise: Manufacturing Systems Engineering

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Completed

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    The Aluminium Lighting Company Ltd. - Feasibility of using computational fluid dynamics to model vortex shedding and the resulting structural behaviour of lighting columns

    Abstract:

    The Aluminium Lighting Company (ALC), based in Cymmer near Port Talbot, manufactures a range of aluminium lighting columns and was the first business to introduce the benefits of extruded aluminium lighting columns into the UK. They would like to investigate “vortex shedding” which is a complex fluid flow phenomenon that can induce vibrations in structures exposed to the wind.

    The proposed project will use Swansea University’s established scientific expertise in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) to investigate how vortex shedding occurs around lighting columns. It is anticipated that this will allow ALC to introduce new types of cost-effective lighting columns with increased resistance to wind-induced damage.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    The Aluminium Lighting Company Ltd. - Research into phenomena affecting the life of aluminium lighting colums and methods for safety remote monitoring such columns in service

    Abstract:

    The Aluminium Lighting Company (ALC), based in Cymmer near Port Talbot, manufactures a range of aluminium lighting columns and was the first business to introduce the benefits of extruded aluminium lighting columns into the UK.

    Effective lighting illuminates hazards involving road traffic, ranging from vehicles travelling at high speed to cyclists and pedestrians. Lighting columns are designed by the manufacturer for a specific use according to British Standard EN 40-3-2&3. Once installed, the performance of the column is likely to deteriorate over time. This can be due to factors such as: progressive corrosion; deteriorating foundation conditions; and collision impact.

    There are a variety of options to assess the structural condition and performance of a column. They range from superficial visual inspections to physical or ultrasonic tests. They are intermittent, and only give data at the time of the inspection or test. Some tests can be relatively expensive and disruptive, requiring road closure or management.

    This project aim is to identify more closely how a column is actually performing in real time against a predicted level of performance. This will help identify if a column is deteriorating structurally and better predict when a column may fail and need to be replaced.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

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    The British Rototherm Company Ltd. - Research into measurement and prediction of noise levels from orifice pressure reducers

    Abstract:

    British Rototherm design and manufacture a range of precision components for the oil, gas and other processing industries. The company has been present in Port Talbot since 1969 and grown into a global provider of engineering products and services.

    The market is driving the design teams to take into consideration, not only the product performance but also the impact it has on the working environment. For this reason, British Rototherm wish to develop a market leading capability in noise prediction for orifice pressure reducers with the assistance from ASTUTE 2020. This will be carried out via a collaborative R&D project, in which ASTUTE 2020 will focus on the development of the computational modelling technique and the company’s expertise in flow control and measurement is to underpin the experimental validation program.

    The sought technical output from the project is a demonstration of capability for numerical modelling tools to predict noise levels from pressure reducers, which will help cement Rototherm’s leadership in this niche field.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    TWI Limited. - Optimisation of Ultrasonic Water Jet Nozzle Design utilising CFD

    Abstract:

    TWI is a world leader in the development and application of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) technologies. As part of the IntACom project, TWI have developed a state-of-the-art, rapid, automated compositie inspection system; which utilises a Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) probe. However, an issues in the performance of the device have arisen, that due to a lack of relevant in-house knowledge, TWI have sought ASTUTE 2020’s expertise in investigating.
    The project will utilise Computational Engineering Modelling (CEM), specifically CFD, to optimise the couplant delivery of the PAUT to improve the accuracy of the system’s assessment.
    Consequently, the device’s accuracy and performance will be improved through knowledge gained. The improvements in performance will result in an increase in saleablity of the product and a beneficial impact for the many composite-based industries that could utilise the optimised inspection system. Resulting in a reduction in inspection/service times and the prevention of parts being replaced unnecessarily.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology

    Academic Partner: University of Wales Trinity Saint David & Swansea University

    Status: Ongoing

    Voltcom Ltd. - Voltcom Group deployable protection system (DPS)

    Abstract:

    Voltcom Group is comprised of three enterprises; a market‐leading overhead line construction and cabling company, a quality & compliance systems provider and a UK‐based fleet management business. By combining these three elements Voltcom Group provide both overhead and underground line installation across the UK from their head office at Llantrisant in Wales.

    The project aims to quantify, by simulation and testing, the loading conditions of a deployable protection structure prior to its introduction into the companies operations. The project would provide Voltcom Group with a greater understanding of the operating performance of their newly developed structure. This project will enable the company to offer an alternative system to their customers which should lead to improvement in efficiency.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling

    Academic Partner: Cardiff University

    Status: Completed

    Weartech International Ltd. - Research into wear resistant, multicomponent alloys to advance manufacturing knowledge and build a company internal research capability

    Abstract:

    Founded in 1990, Weartech International Ltd is has a major plant in Port Talbot where they manufacture wear‐resistant, hard‐facing cobalt, nickel, and iron based alloy coatings, consumables and components. Weartech alloys are available in the form of bare rods, stick electrodes and small diameter wires that are manufactured using a continuous casting process, whilst wear‐resistant cast components are made by centrifugal and sand casting methods.

    The proposed research project will examine the microscopic structure and mechanical properties of these multi‐component alloys when produced by continuous casting (for line rods), and sand casting and centrifugal casting (for components). These investigations will be supported by computer modelling of the heat and fluid flow during casting and (to include the effects of phase transformations during solidification). In addition, the reduction of the generated reverts from sand casting and machining operations will be addressed through a computational mould design optimisation to avoid costly delays such as those experienced in over manufacturer and re‐cast time. Moreover, the reverts recycling process in casting will be investigated to determine the level beyond which product quality will be affected, allowing for a sustainable manufacturing process that impact minimally on the environment.

    Moreover, this collaborative work will focus on the knowledge transfer that enables the company to develop and build a research capacity into wear resistant multicomponent alloys to advance manufacturing knowledge. This will lead into a more efficient manufacturing process and exploit increased market demand for these complex, high‐value alloys.

    Expertise: Computational Engineering Modelling & Advanced Materials Technology 

    Academic Partner: Swansea University 

    Status: Ongoing

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