Shearline’s New Approach To Magnesium Moulding

ULTRA lightweight, strong, complex moulded components are now possible with a new approach to magnesium moulding. Precision manufacturing company Shearline is creating a test rig with the support of the University of Sheffield and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, in order to evaluate the process for its clients, particularly with regard to new alloys for the aerospace, automotive and defence sectors.

ULTRA lightweight, strong, complex moulded components are now possible with a new approach to magnesium moulding. Precision manufacturing company Shearline is creating a test rig with the support of the University of Sheffield and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, in order to evaluate the process for its clients, particularly with regard to new alloys for the aerospace, automotive and defence sectors.

Charles Maltby, technical and commercial director for Shearline, comments that the new injection moulding process offers significant benefits.

“Thixomoulding is a relatively new process which enables the precise moulding of magnesium alloy components with thin walls and complex shapes within a single process,” he said.

“Magnesium alloys are already widely used for low cost, high volume components for computers and mobile phones and also in high performance cars where strength and lightness is required. We see an opportunity to provide similar magnesium components for low volume, high value manufacture particularly for prototypes and first production cycles.


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“Metal injection moulding via Thixomoulding and new additive layer methods for producing tooling can reduce the overall cost of tooling and construction. Components that may previously have required several manufacturing processes, or to have been constructed in parts and then assembled, can now be integrated within a single mould.

“Magnesium is an exciting metal and removes constraints from product designers. We think there is significant potential for the process and this has been supported by our industry research.”

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Shearline has been working closely with the University of Sheffield and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and has secured a Knowledge Transfer Programme from the university to work on the new activity.

KTP Associate Rachel Peachey said: “I am really looking forward to working at Shearline and with University of Sheffield support and knowledge this will be an excellent opportunity to bring advanced manufacturing methods to the UK.”

Shearline will be the first commercial facility in the UK to offer design for manufacture knowledge in magnesium Thixomoulding. There are currently only a few sites capable of providing this service in Europe and they are almost all in research labs.

Sustainability is a growing issue and magnesium is completely recyclable and can be used to replace some plastic applications. It is environmentally clean and from a sustainable source. The process also requires low energy consumption compared to aluminium for example.

The Shearline facility will initially include a test rig for magnesium alloy injection moulding and services will include design for manufacture, tool design and procurement, moulding, finishing and assembly, as required by the customer.

The company already supports a client that has incorporated moulded magnesium components within their products and has experience of handling and finishing such components for use in final assemblies. The Magnesium Thixomoulding process will allow Shearline to offer a greater range of services on site and complement the existing precision engineering, sheet metal fabrication and assembly activities.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is a �60million partnership which builds on the shared scientific excellence, expertise and technological innovation of the world’s leading aerospace companies, including Boeing and Rolls Royce, together with world-class research within the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering. By working with the AMRC, Shearline is able to ensure that the processes it is developing will be addressing the stringent quality requirements of the aerospace, automotive and other high tech sectors.

Iain Todd, Reader in Metallurgy and Director of Materials, University of Sheffield AMRC with Boeing said, “Shearline is a progressive company and this project provides a great example of the way universities can work with world-class organisations to bridge the gap between emerging research and industrial application. We see tremendous potential for this process with some compelling applications.”

Shearline will be at the Farnborough Airshow, July 19-23. You can find them in Hall 1 on the WEAF stand.

For more information visit www.shearline.co.uk

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