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Expanded Auto Aluminum R&D for Constellium

Aug. 28, 2018
New Advanced Metals Processing Centre in London will form, join, and test prototype automotive components to match automakers’ lightweight-component specs

Constellium N.V. recently expanded the scope of the University Technology Center (UTC) at Brunel University London it established in 2016, adding an R&D center there to “transition” technologies developed at the laboratory to its production facilities. Constellium produces aluminum products automotive, aerospace, and packaging markets, including automotive structures, extrusions, and mill products.

The new Advanced Metals Processing Centre (AMPC) is outfitted with various manufacturing technologies, including a flow drill screw, electromagnetic pulse (EMPT) forming, freeform 3D bending, and real-time 3D scanning for comparing parts with engineering drawings, among others.

When inaugurated two years ago the UTC focused on aluminum alloy development, with industrial-scale casting and extrusion equipment, aiming to reduce the time need to bring new alloys to market by at least 50%.

In a partnership with Brunel University London, Constellium sponsors a fellowship program for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows. Two dozen researchers, engineers, and technicians develop materials and manufacturing methods for future lightweight and electric vehicles.

Now, with the establishment of the AMPC, Constellium will form, join, and test prototype automotive components (e.g., crash management systems, body structure components, and battery enclosures) for electric and hybrid vehicles, at the Brunel campus to confirm they meet automakers’ specifications.

“The University Technology Center has been a tremendous benefit for Constellium and its customers to speed up development of new alloys and to trial novel extrusions,” stated Paul Warton, president of Constellium Automotive Structures and Industry.

“Now, we are expanding our presence at Brunel to be able to apply that knowledge by rapid prototyping aluminum structural components for automakers,” Warton added, “and transferring new manufacturing methods to Constellium’s plants for series production with dedicated R&D resources.”