As part of its continued growth strategy, BCAST at Brunel University has installed a complete sand casting cell at The Advanced Metal Processing Centre (AMPC) research facility.
The cell encompasses a no-bake (air-set) sand casting line, for moulds up to 1m x 1m in size, comprising hopper, sand mixer, vibratory compaction, rollover, 300kg furnace for melting aluminium, heated ladle and de-coring oven.
Omega Sinto, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of foundry equipment for the chemically bonded sand process, won the tender for this project against competition from other UK and European suppliers. The tender required applicants to supply a complete turnkey solution for the casting cell, to include non-Omega Sinto equipment such as furnaces, ladles and de-coring equipment. This highly prestigious project will facilitate leading technology in sand casting operations.
As part of the cell, the Peterborough-based (UK) supply company installed a three-ton hopper, two-way gate, Spartan 410P P3 pivotal mixer, 200 litre drum stand, stainless steel part 3-day tank, a compaction table, a set of six bolters, gravity roller track, rollover, guarding, control panel, mould manipulator, 300kg furnace, heated ladle, de-coring oven and a band saw.
The Advanced Metal Processing Centre (AMPC) is the second phase of a national scale-up facility within BCAST at Brunel University London, and follows the opening of the Advanced Metal Casting Centre (AMCC) in 2016. It houses industrial and pilot scale metal processing equipment, complementary to that of the AMCC, in a second bespoke building. The processing equipment is supported by machining, joining, mechanical testing and 3D inspection facilities.
Together with the AMCC, the aim of the AMPC is to demonstrate technologies developed in the laboratory at a recognisable industrial scale, and to allow BCAST’s industrial partners to carry out R&D that neither they nor their suppliers are able to do for themselves. It will bridge the gap between discovery and full implementation. Funding for the AMPC has been provided through a £15m award from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) UKRPIF programme (now managed by Research England) and over £60m of support for R&D from the private sector over 10 years. A key feature of the AMPC and AMCC is that BCAST’s researchers and seconded engineers from its partners will work side by side.
The new centre provides a massive boost for manufacturers to work with Brunel on large-scale research and development activity, enabling innovations – such as novel structures for lightweight car parts – to make the leap from the lab to full-scale industrial trials.
“The AMPC represents the next major step in establishing a light metals research park in the south-east corner of our campus and this cluster of facilities has already created an unrivalled research zone in Europe of the type of research we’re doing,” said Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Brunel’s vice-chancellor and president.