C2I 2020: Manufacturing technology shortlist

Manufacturing technology is evolving to accommodate the huge potential of additive manufacturing and ingenious joining technologies.

C2I 2020Category: Manufacturing technology

Project: DRAMA

Partners: MTC, Ansys Granta, Autodesk, ATS Global, Midlands Aerospace Alliance, National Physical Laboratory, Renishaw, University of Birmingham

Category Sponsor: Mazak

Whilst sectors like medical have been keen adopters of metal additive manufacturing technology uptake in the aerospace industry has been slower.

The £14m, MTC led  DRAMA project is attempting to change this by developing a set of national assets that can be used to help UK supply chain companies build capability in metal additive manufacturing.

This project was the winner of the aerospace & defence category.

C2I 2020Category: Manufacturing technology

Project:  PowderCleanse

Partners: Carpenter Technology Corporation, Farleygreene, Malvern Panalytical, Aegleteq, MTC

Powder bed metal additive manufacturing (AM) processes typically use up to 20kg of powder for each 1kg of manufactured part, so AM users must be able to effectively handle and recycle vast amounts of powder during the process. In the current generation of AM machines, the powder handling equipment provides a potential risk to powder traceability and powder quality.


PowderCleanse, which is in its final stages, set out to develop and demonstrate an effective solution for powder management which utilises digital connectivity to monitor and control every aspect of the process. Key innovations are being developed for metal powder sieving, online process monitoring, foreign body contamination detection and fully enclosed powder handling environments.

The project is unique within the industry in that it takes what is deemed an off-line process, powder testing in a lab, and brings the critical component to be ‘on-line’ and potentially ‘in-line’ which shortens the powder processing cycle time.


C2I 2020Category: Manufacturing technology

Project: Topology Optimisation of a heat exchanger with turbulent flow

Partners: Baker Hughes, Imperial College London, TOffeeAM LTD

Whilst the rise of additive manufacturing technology is already being used across a number of sectors and applications, its impact and application has arguably been limited by traditional engineering mindsets and design methodologies that prevent manufacturers from fully exploiting its flexibility.

This project – a collaboration between Imperial College London, TOffeeAM ltd and energy company Baker Hughes - set out to address this through the development of  topology optimisation (TO) software that allows engineers to exploit the geometrical freedom offered by AM.



For the project, the group focussed on the development of a new TO algorithm that could be used to design and build a heat exchanger with turbulent flows. This is of particular interest for critical application in gas turbines where turbines blades are in a harsh working environment.

The maximum temperature on the air can exceed 2000K and every single rotor blade has to withstand high mechanical stresses, equivalent to the weight of about 100 mid size cars. Consequently, coolant channels are added inside the blades to keep the temperature in a safe range which can guarantee the correct functioning and prevent premature failures. The results of first phase of this project has been included in the new TO software of TOffeeAM ltd.

C2I 2020Category: Manufacturing technology

Project: PowderBondPP - strong, easy to apply and reliable bonding process for PP to metal

Partners: Powdertech Surface Science, Stalcom Automotive Technologies, Ariel Motor Co, MacNeillie (Babcock), Innovate UK, NVN

The lack of a satisfactory joining solution has deterred designers from specifying PP (polypropylene and polyethylene) based composite materials in many areas of manufacturing, meaning that more expensive materials are often employed to bypass the complexity of the joining process.


This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Powdertech Surface Science, which was a participant in the SOLMAC (Structural Optimisation using Light Metals and Affordable Composites) along with Ariel Motors, MacNeillie (Babcock), and Stalcom.

The aim of the project was to take materials and processes proven at a system level and in non-primary structures and apply them to the production of the primary body structure of the Ariel Hipercar.

Specifically, novel combined pre-and post-assembly surface treatment of aluminium sheet and extruded beam sections were integrated with affordable thermoplastic panels.

Manufacturing technology

By creating hybrid material sub-assemblies that were then joined using cold-cure adhesive and mechanical fasteners, a lightweight solution was delivered that exhibited significant performance, cost and environmental benefits.

The project provided an opportunity to refine the PowderBondPP process developed to enable the joining of polypropylene to aluminium, and was successfully used to make the five sub-assemblies that formed the structure of the tub.

The engineering challenge set forth by the design team, Stalcom, to deliver the features required by the OEM, Ariel, were key in demanding a novel approach to joining dissimilar materials. Powdertech and Stalcom have since collaborated on a further research project (named PBApps) to characterise the bond durability and generate a dataset and demonstrator to be able to take the solution to market.


About the category sponsor


Yamazaki Mazak was established in 1919 and has been contributing to the development of the machine tool industry as a leading global company. Yamazaki Mazak manufactures not only advanced machine tools such as multi-tasking centres, CNC turning centres, machining centres and laser processing machines as well as automation systems.