The Northern Ireland Polymers Association, supported by the Connected Project held a Composites Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting at Belfast Metropolitan College today, the 24th October.
Building on the success of the NIPA network and previous Composites SIG meetings, this workshop aimed to provide technical information on areas of mutual interest. This included presentations on value engineering, lean manufacturing, emissions control and recycling.
The event was a great success with some highly beneficial topics being discussed and knowledge sharing from attendees. An overview of the proceedings is described below.
Overview of Proceedings
Peter Quigley of Bombardier Aerospace gave an account of how the company uses Design for Low Cost principles within early stage development of products. This approach differs from the traditional aerospace method of cost-reduction exercises following product design.
Findhan Strain of Belfast Met gave examples of lean manufacturing corrective actions used in the production of low cost polyester/fibreglass components. Examples included measures used to counteract variable cure times, porosity and part contamination that could be beneficial to local producers. Findhan also gave an overview of the Connected programme and how it has helped link industry with academia in the composites industry locally.
Aaron Cosbey of Survitec gave an excellent presentation on the control of volatile organic compounds (VOC) at the company in Dunmurry. Using a unique process, VOCs from the factory are collected and passed through natural bacteria stores to remove hazardous compounds before releasing into the atmosphere.
Edward Archer of the University of Ulster then provided an overview of the Re-Rotor carbon fibre recycling project completed at the University. The project, now coming to an end, sought to produce useful products from aerospace grade, carbon fibre nesting waste. The project achieved all of its objectives and is now seeking funding to take the idea further.
Michael Smith and Gerry McNally of NIPA gave an overview of other specific opportunities available through NIPA such as the successful energy reduction initiatives. The meeting was then closed and it was agreed another would be held early in the New Year.
To learn more about NIPA, please see here.