Additive manufacturing - a new dimension in manufacturing of carbon fibre

Ahead of this October's GOCarbonFibre 2017, we spoke to Tom Wasley, Research Engineer at The Manufacturing Technology Centre, about using additive manufacturing as an enabling technology for composites, new applications and more.

Can you provide us with a brief introduction to your presentation and it will cover?

My presentation will provide a brief introduction to the MTC and Additive Manufacturing for those unaware/unfamiliar with the technology. I will then discuss benefits and examples of processing composites using an Additive Manufacturing approach, both directly and to introduce further complexity for carbon fibre tooling application.  Finally, I will give an overview of work being conducted at the MTC to evaluate the benefits of carbon fibre filled polymer materials and the reinforcement of polymer parts with continuous carbon fibres. Case studies and therefore application areas of this technology will therefore be introduced.

What are the consequences and results of these developments in manufacturing?

Using Additive manufacturing as an enabling technology for composites has revealed a vast number of applications previously unthinkable. AM derived polymer composite matrices specifically have proven highly beneficial for light-weighting and enhancing material properties while maintaining the rapid product development and testing benefits provided by Additive manufacturing. Looking forwards I would expect to see some replacement of non-critical metallic parts with polymer based composites produced by Additive Manufacturing technologies in the near future due to the material benefits and increased design freedom and optimisation capabilities of these digital manufacturing techniques.

What are you most looking forward to by speaking and attending GOCarbonFibre 2017 conference in Munich?

I am looking forward to providing the Carbon Fibre industry with an overview of how the uptake of Additive manufacturing of composites can be mutually beneficial for both industries. In addition, to introduce the MTC and our expertise to a new audience and, meet and discuss any scepticism that may exist surrounding AM as a disruptive technology.

Tom will present on 'A new dimension in manufacturing in carbon fibre' on Wednesday 11 October as part of the OEM Applications, Material Challenges and Developments session. The presentation will provide a brief introduction to additive manufacturing and the consequences and results of the recent developments.

Other speakers in the session include Airbus, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, RISE, InCA Technologies, Sigmatex and Mitsubishi Chemical Carbon Fiber and Composites. You can view the full programme here.