EPL Composite Solutions wins funding for thermoplastic composites automation

U.K.-based EPL Composite Solutions has received funding from the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) to work with Cytec to develop a robotic process for manufacturing low-cost structural thermoplastic composite parts.

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EPL Composite Solutions (Loughborough, U.K.), a privately owned research and development company specializing in the application and commercialization of products made from composite materials, reports it has received funding from the the U.K.'s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).

As part of this initiative, EPL is collaborating with Cytec Industrial Materials (Heanor, U.K.) to develop a robotic process for manufacturing low-cost structural thermoplastic composite components. The venture aims to deliver a step change in process speed, waste levels and material performance necessary to make thermoplastic components cost viable to a wider audience of industrial end users.

The three-year program is entering the final stages of its first year. To date, the project has established a U.K, thermoplastic materials supply chain, procured candidate materials and engaged a U.K. co-mingling facility for trials.  Novel robotic ancillaries for hybrid thermoplastic processing are under development and are planned for first practical trial next quarter. This will lead to the formation of the U.K.’s first prototype manufacturing facility of this type.

Also within the AMSCI CiC program EPL is working on a project targeted at end users from new industry areas — for example, leisure and commercial transport — who would like to evaluate their components in thermoplastics before committing to expensive processing. EPL welcomes inquiries from companies interested in developing thermoplastic components as case studies in the project. Contact Nick Weatherby at n.weatherby@eplcs.co.uk.