Never mind Brexit – firm wins £576K of Euro funding

Bury-based Wallwork Group has won a bid for £576,000 of European Commission funding to support a £2m project for rapid deployment of technology to smooth the surface of metal components produced by additive manufacturing.

With the University of Manchester materials science department and partners in France and Italy, the Fast-Track to Innovation programme will see technology move from proven prototype to live deployment in manufacturing plants.

Wallwork, technical manager, Laurent Espitalier said: “We hold key patents on an electrolytic plasma process that is able to remove excess material on even the most complex components effectively and economically. Energy use is relatively low, there are no toxic by-products and cycle times are far shorter than existing methods, so the process is very attractive, both commercially and environmentally.”

Research and development work will be based at Wallwork in Cambridge where the company operates one of Europe’s largest facilities for the application of advanced micro thin coatings for aerospace, motorsport and medical devices.

This site also manufactures the complex machines, software and control systems required for these processes and is therefore able to manufacture the plasma smoothing machines.

The programme of process development, machine build and live trials to prove the effectiveness of the system in manufacturing environments will last 29 months, after which the partners anticipate they will have sufficient data to proceed to full commercial exploitation of the technique.

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