By using the findings of a four-year research carried out by the team of an international project, the manufacturers will be able to cut energy used in some processes by more than 50%, reduce composite production cost by more than 45% and almost double the recycling of some consumables and raw materials.
REFORM project involved nine companies from five countries and four research institutions, including the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
The project was funded by the European 7th Framework Factory of the Future Programme and sparked by the increasing use of fiber-reinforced composites to replace metals in the transport and construction industries.
Laser-assisted tape lay-up systems and augmented reality, novel instruments for the processing and assembly, new recycling methods can reduce energy requirements, scrap, time and labor costs, shorten production cycle and make the production of composites safer for the environment.
According to REFORM coordinator Rosemary Gault, from the AMRC: «REFORM project is focused on four areas – forming, machining, assembly and recycling – to make sure gains made in one area did not lead to waste and inefficiency elsewhere. The project has created a series of new technologies and techniques that are ready to be introduced by industry and could make a significant contribution to cutting the cost and environmental impact of the growing use of composites.»
Terms: Composite materials