AWARD WINNING INNOVATION
The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a global £1m prize which celebrates ground-breaking innovation in engineering.
As one of the UK's biggest engineering businesses, we support the promotion of innovation which brings a global benefit to humanity.
Its 2015 winner is Dr Robert Langer, the ground-breaking chemical engineer whose engineering revolutions has held improve the lives of more than two billion people.
Find out more about Dr Langer and his work, at the official QE Prize website: http://qeprize.org/
As a major donor to the QE Prize, the advanced manufacturing team at our Military Air and Information business have grown the trophy using additive manufacturing.
The ‘Golden Crown' trophy was created through a design competition and would have been virtually impossible to make using conventional manufacturing techniques.
But, using additive manufacturing techniques our engineers have far more freedom.
Greg Flanagan, who heads our additive manufacturing team, explained: "What we did was look at the design of the trophy and make small adjustments to enable it to be built using these techniques, while ensuring it remained true to its original design.
"It took a number of iterations to get this right, we produced a number of prototypes before we produced the final version, but the use of additive manufacturing techniques allows this to be done rapidly and cost effectively.”
Once designed in a 3D model using computer aided design, our experts used a combination of different techniques to produce the trophy overnight before it was coated in copper and nickel to achieve a polished finish.
GROWING OUR OWN FUTURE
The same techniques used to manufacture the trophy for the 2015 QE Prize are being used to make the way we build our combat aircraft faster and more efficient.
At the state-of-the-art facility at our site in Samlesbury, Lancashire, are regularly producing tools, models used for testing in its wind tunnel facilities and even aircraft components.
Greg Flanagan adds: "Additive manufacturing is ideal for quickly evolving solutions for engineering problems.
"We can quickly produce multiple prototype parts, allowing us to understand design issues much more quickly than is possible with computer-based models alone.
"Often we will 3D print parts in plastic and assess any issues, before we commit to manufacture which saves time in getting to a final design ensures the final design is right.
"We are quickly evolving the design of a part, rather than banking on getting it right first time."
TAKING REVOLUTIONS TO THE SKY
In 2013, we flew the first parts created using additive manufacturing on a Tornado jet operated by the Royal Air Force in the UK.
That jet took off from RAF Marham fitted with a plastic camera bracket and since then the aircraft has flown with a cockpit radio cover and components in the landing gear created using the techniques.
Our manufacturing teams have also created parts out of titanium and other metals which form major structures in our aircraft.
They are now continuing to develop other metallic and non-metallic parts which they expect to get qualified for manufacture.