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EPL Composite Solutions developing low cost thermoplastic technology within the AMSCI programme

News International-French

2 May 2014

Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) is a national initiative which provides funding to develop supply chains’ improve competitiveness, sustain or create new employment opportunities, and create better synergies and sustained collaborative relationships throughout supply chains that participate.

EPL Composite Solutions (EPL) is a privately owned research and development company specialising in the application and commercialisation of products made from composite materials across a broad range of industries.

In order to continue to innovate and grow in its core market sectors EPL has received funding from the Government-backed Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).

As part of this initiative, EPL is collaborating with Cytec Industrial Materials to develop a unique 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 3-year programme is now entering the final stages of its first year. To date, the project has established a UK thermoplastic materials supply chain, procured candidate materials and engaged a UK co-mingling facility for trials. Novel robotic ancillaries for hybrid thermoplastic processing are currently under development and are planned for first practical trial next quarter. This will lead to the formation of the UK’s first prototype manufacturing facility of this type.

Also within the AMSCI CiC programme EPL are developing solutions to tackle a key barrier to entry for Companies wishing to develop new thermoplastic components – namely the high cost of initial prototypes. This project is 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.
In order to support these activities EPL have recently employed two full time graduate engineers tasked with delivering practical commercial outcomes from these two research programmes. In addition a third full time Engineer is currently being sought as is a full time workshop technician to provide further resource to the current work programs.

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