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A faster track to aerospace additive manufacturing

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A faster track to aerospace additive manufacturing

An aerospace manufacturing firm is to pioneer an innovative, programme designed to upskill its workforce and help accelerate the adoption and application of additive manufacturing (AM).

MSM aerospace fabricators, based in Middleton, Greater Manchester is part of the Fast Track Additive Manufacturing – Upskilling the Workforce programme, run in collaboration with the Made Smarter North West adoption pilot.

The initiative connects the North West region’s manufacturers to digital tools, leadership and skills to drive growth, and is supported by Manchester Metropolitan University’s PrintCity, and Fabricon Design, a business specialising in advanced manufacturing methods.

MSM has embarked on a 12-day programme which aims to give participants a solid grounding in all aspects of AM, from understanding the entire digital workflow end-to-end, including the software and hardware, to the range of materials that can be used to create products or parts, and post-processing skills.

The flexible, modular training will run from November to February 2021 and is designed to fit around work schedules.

The blended learning approach will include online workshops and in-person site visits to Fabricon Design’s facility in Ashton-under-Lyne and STFC Daresbury.  There are also onsite sessions at PrintCity, a 3D additive and digital manufacturing hub at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Workshops include: rapid prototyping; parametric modelling; Finite Element Analysis (FEA); AM polymer and part consolidation and generative design. There will be software tutorials in CAD CAM, Fusion 360, Eiger, Cura and PreForm, and an exploration of career opportunities and the future of AM.

Michael Pedley, managing director of MSM aerospace fabricators, which develops and manufactures complex parts and assemblies for Airbus and Boeing aircraft, said: “MSM has been purchasing additive manufacturing services for a number of years and sees Fast Track as an opportunity to bring that expertise in-house. We have identified a need to use AM technology for production templates, laser tooling and checking gauges for inspecting components, and plan to invest in a 3D printer.

“This will be a great opportunity to develop the design and engineering skills associated with additive manufacturing, which can be shared across the company.”

The programme supports the need for relevant and easily digestible training for upskilling and reskilling SMEs, one of the key recommendations of the Made Smarter Review, the independent review of industrial digitalisation.

Ruth Hailwood, Made Smarter’s specialist organisational and workforce development adviser, said: “This pioneering programme is designed to provide businesses with the skills required to understand what AM technology they should invest in; why they should invest; how they design products for AM and operate the machines; and what benefits they can expect once they have successfully adopted AM. Businesses will provide real world examples as training material so that the course will address their specific skills gaps.”

“Working in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University’s PrintCity and Fabricon Design, we have designed a programme which aims to be flexible enough to enable additive manufacturing techniques and the associated design and post-processing skills to be implemented relatively quickly to accelerate productivity improvements within existing operations and develop new products and new markets.”

The Fast Track Additive Manufacturing Programme has been funded from the £3m Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund, a joint venture between Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership to address the digital skills gaps across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Link to Aerospace Manufacturing website and article

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