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Shearline plans first commercial magnesium moulding facility of its kind in the UK

12 July 2010

Ultra lightweight, very strong, complex moulded components are now possible with a new approach to magnesium moulding. Precision manufacturing company Shearline is creating a test rig with the support of the University of Sheffield and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, in order to evaluate the process for its clients, particularly with regard to new alloys for the aerospace, automotive and defence sectors. Charles Maltby (pictured), Shearline's technical & commercial director says the new injection moulding process offers significant benefits.

Thixomoulding is a relatively new process which enables the precise moulding of magnesium alloy components with thin walls and complex shapes within a single process," he explains. Magnesium alloys are already widely used for low cost, high volume components for computers and mobile phones and also in high performance cars where strength and lightness is required. We see an opportunity to provide similar magnesium components for low volume, high value manufacture particularly for prototypes and first production cycles.

Metal injection moulding via Thixomoulding and new additive layer methods for producing tooling can reduce the overall cost of tooling and construction. Components that may previously have required several manufacturing processes, or to have been constructed in parts and then assembled, can now be integrated within a single mould.

Magnesium is an exciting metal and removes constraints from product designers. We think there is significant potential for the process and this has been supported by our industry research.

Shearline has been working closely with the University of Sheffield and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and has secured a Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP) from the university to work on the new activity.

Shearline will be the first commercial facility in the UK to offer design for manufacture knowledge in magnesium Thixomoulding. There are currently only a few sites capable of providing this service in Europe and they are almost all in research labs.

The Shearline facility will initially include a test rig for magnesium alloy injection moulding and services will include design for manufacture, tool design and procurement, moulding, finishing and assembly, as required by the customer.

Shearline will be at the Farnborough Airshow, 19-23 July 2010. You can find them in Hall 1 on the WEAF stand.

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