Development of prototype composite press for use in super-car development and manufacture.
The purpose of the project was a leading UK super-car manufacturer and Sheffield University were working together to develop a new composite moulding process by which it would be possible manufacture a high strength floor pan for a new model of car.
Carbon fibre composites are used extensively in the manufacture of modern super-car construction, this traditionally uses a process of hand layering woven carbon fibre materials with resin bonding to create a high-strength structure, this is a highly skilled labour-intensive process.
Sheffield University developed a new process whereby it was possible to mould a carbon fibre structure using high pressure resin injection. In order to make this process viable for the manufacture of large component parts they required a special purpose press that employed variable force and speed control to allow fine control of the resin injection and pressing process.
The solution was a unique hydraulic system was developed using multiple pumps and servo proportional control that allowed every aspect of the presses approach, closing position, speed and force to be controlled in turn this allowed the internal forces within the resin injected mould to be manipulated to produce a part with the desired structural integrity.
The outcome of the project is that after prototyping various components, the press is now being used for the commercial manufacture of floor pans for a UK super-car manufacture, giving them a unique advantage over their competition.