At the forefront of aerospace research

01 May 2019

Okuma, a manufacturer of CNC equipment, has joined the University of Sheffield AMRC to further develop its extensive aerospace expertise and partner on research to increase aircraft drive efficiency while reducing noise and pollution.

The Germany-based subsidiary of the Okuma Corporation, a world leader in CNC machine tools and machining process optimisation, joined as a Tier One member of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), which is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and a network of world-leading research and innovation centres around the globe.

Okuma specialises in exploring advanced machining, manufacturing and materials of practical use to the aerospace industry. With the new membership, Norbert Teeuwen (President Okuma Europe) and Stefan Vielsäcker (Senior Manager Okuma) will sit on the AMRC management and technology board.

Okuma will participate by developing machining applications for new types of material. Other research focuses on new components for more efficient drives like future solutions for conventional drive arrangements in fields like electro, hybrid or gear-driven systems. Advanced manufacturing processes like skiving for new materials and other cutting-edge gear manufacturing technologies will also be the focus of new research. The overall goal of these projects is to increase the efficiency of aircraft drives while reducing noise and CO2 emissions.

Prof Keith Ridgway, founder and Executive Dean of the AMRC, said: “Okuma has a rich history in the machine tool industry, but are constantly looking to the future. Like us, they have a deep tradition of innovation and have a mission to speed the evolution of advanced manufacturing. They consistently push the boundaries of machining, opening new possibilities in terms of quality and productivity. We are proud to have a company with such a remarkable manufacturing pedigree join us as a partner and look forward to working with them on pushing the boundaries of the possible in the future.”

The collaboration will help expand the AMRC’s research capabilities with the new CNC machine tool and put Okuma at the forefront of new advances, further developing its extensive aerospace expertise.

Okuma said one benefit of being part of the research projects is that its machines will be used for certifying innovative materials and manufacturing processes. This allows Okuma to immediately offer solutions that are recommended and licensed by the process developers when a new material or manufacturing process becomes ready to go into production. In addition, the cooperation will bring researchers, aerospace manufacturers and machine tool builders closer together at an early stage.

As a member of the AMRC, Okuma will provide know-how and support for the latest research in form of a MU-8000V-L, a versatile CNC machine tool that combines turning and 5-axis multitasking machining, making it the ideal solution for highly complex aerospace components.

In cooperation with UK distributor NCMT, a Tier 2 member of the AMRC, Okuma will also accompany the research with constant application support and service free of charge.

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