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Formtech Composites and BAE Systems bridge gap between composite and defence engineering

News International-French

12 Sep 2011

The two cmpanies are working on a joint project to design, develop and produce a fully composite Light Assault Bridge as a Technology Demonstrator for Britain's Ministry of Defence.

Formtech Managing Director Mark Preston called the five month project “a potential gamechanger" in the direction defence design strategy could be headed, and believes it to be well suited to showcase the versatility of composites in the field of defence.


The partnership provides a unique opportunity for Formtech Composites to advance the UK Motorsport to Defence initiative and capitalise on their Formula One and America's Cup experience. Preston said "Outside of the worlds of Motorsport and yacht racing there is skepticism whether composites can always deliver - particularly on weight and cost. This project is the first step in fully pushing the boundaries in terms of what composites can be really applied to".


Formtech has an ambition to help provide diverse manufacturing solutions for the defence sector and believes it is well situated to contribute to this new direction. Chief Designer Martin Oughton said "Formtech's strategy of composite design revolves around combining semi-automated processing methods and creative engineering- particularly in the areas of braiding and filament winding - to create a really unique, fully composite structure that achieves our three main targets: light weight, low cost and high quality".


Formtech believes that composites will provide a real competitive advantage for the UK in general and across the defence industry in particular. “The Demonstrator”, Preston concludes, “is just the right opportunity to shift design methodology away from a historical ‘Black Aluminum’ mindset towards techniques used for projects which require cutting edge innovation, like F1”. Formtech believes the full benefits of composites only arise when composite design methodologies are used from concept to realisation of a project.

About Formtech Composites
Formtech Composites specializes in the design, engineering and bespoke manufacture of carbon composite products suitable for use within defence, automotive, motorsport, aerospace, marine and research and development institutions. Its comprehensive product range includes computer aided design services, carbon composite manufacturing, stress analysis, validation/certification testing, prototype and serial manufacturing projects including Formula One and aerospace components. Formtech is ISO9002 accredited and has manufacturing operations in Leafield, UK and Niederwinkling, Germany.

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