Europe’s largest production plant for titanium aerospace castings is nearing completion at AMRC Castings’ facilities on the outskirts of Sheffield, England.
The furnaces in the facility are capable of melting 1,000kg of titanium and the site will have its first test melt in December
Two large scale power supply units have been installed to deliver the energy required by the organisation’s consumable electrode casting furnace. The furnace is capable of melting the 1,000kg of titanium required to make a 500kg casting and has three interchangeable bodies, which give it the versatility to produce components with a finished weight ranging upwards from 60kg.
Closed loop cooling systems that prevent the furnace bodies themselves from melting are being installed, along with hydraulic and pneumatic systems, which remove air from the furnace and casting chambers. This is essential when dealing with molten titanium due to it reacting violently with oxygen.
The systems are also used to rotate the furnace body to pour molten titanium into a ceramic mould in the casting chamber below, which incorporates a turntable that can spin the mould at up to 300 revolutions a minute for improved centrifugal casting.
A new plant is being installed to make ceramic mould shells up to 2 metres in diameter and 2.5 metres long, which could weigh more than 2.5 tonnes and will be large enough to produce the largest variants of aero engine intercases up to 500kg, and other structural aerospace components.
Furnace construction is due to finish in time for training and cold commissioning to start during November and will be followed by hot commissioning and the first test melts in December, depending on when permission is given to energise the power supplies.
The UK has been chosen by the F-35 Program Office as the global repair hub for the aircraft, providing maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for avionic and aircraft components
The work will involve maintenance and repair of systems for the F-35 aircraft including electronic and electrical components, fuel, mechanical and hydraulic systems, and ejection seats.
The winning UK solution will be based on a partnership enterprise between Defence Electronics & Components Agency (DECA), BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, supported by key F-35 original equipment manufacturers. The work will be centred at the UK government-owned DECA based at MoD Sealand, in North East Wales.
The UK Ministry of Defence said the work will generate hundreds of millions of pounds of revenue for the UK defence industry, with the potential to unlock more than £2 billion of future F-35 support revenue over the lifetime of the programme. This will help sustain thousands of high tech jobs and skills.
The new global avionic and aircraft component repair service is expected to be operational from early 2018.
The engineering arm of budget airline Monarch is creating 75 new jobs at its base at Birmingham Airport. Monarch Aircraft Engineering, which opened at the airport three years ago, says it is planning to expand its team there to 250 staff.
The giant hub, which is big enough to house four football pitches, provides jet maintenance and testing services to Monarch and other companies on a contract basis.
Virtually all of the new positions are for skilled trained engineers. An increasing number of the workforce is recruited through its apprenticeship programme and the latest intake has just joined, intake has just joined, increasing the number of apprentices in training by a third to 29.