Large titanium part casting at AMRC Castings
17th July 2017
Following recent investment at AMRC Castings, the UK has gained a unique resource for research into the manufacture of large structural titanium castings for the aerospace sector. The realisation of a commercial facility somewhere in the UK is the ultimate target, however, as Andrew Allcock discovered when he called by to learn more
Part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, AMRC Castings can now produce parts that weigh up to half a tonne, although it takes a pour of 1,000 kg to deliver that, due to retained material in the crucible, reservoirs and runners. The facility, which will commence operations this month with a first test part, has drawn funding for its foundry system and associated equipment from the UK’s government/industry-backed Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). That investment is just over £15 million.
A research rather than a production facility, AMRC Castings’ key thrust is the development of knowledge to support the cost-effective manufacture of large aerospace titanium castings, with some of those substituting for the forged parts of today by being able to offer similar material properties, nearer to net shape. And the headline pay-off is a reduced fly-to buy ratio, which can reach 20:1 for forging and machining routes versus, conservatively, 2:1 for the cast near-net shape route that additionally allows for more complex part designs.