KTP helps engineering firm improve processing techniques

KTP helps engineering firm improve processing techniques

Littleborough-based CRP Ltd recently worked with the University of Bradford’s faculty of engineering and informatics on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to improve its polymer processing techniques.

KTP’s are funded by Innovate UK and are the most successful knowledge transfer programme in Europe. The focus of this project was polymer perfluoroalkoxy (PFA), which saw a graduate from the University join the company for two years to help improve its polymer processing techniques

PFA is a melt processable fluoropolymer, principally comprising carbon and fluorine atoms in a molecular chain. This structure gives the material its exceptional corrosion resisting properties, but also results in its challenging processing characteristics.

The project aim was to gain an enhanced understanding of key process variables and to allow increasingly large and complex products to be manufactured. The pot moulding process for PFA was instrumented so that data could be recorded to understand why moulded parts were failing.

This data informed modifications in the moulding process to improve product flow and ensure the parts created passed product testing standards. Material flow characterisation and flow processes were documented for the revised process and shared with staff, leading to much greater knowledge of PFA processing techniques.

David MacGregor, engineering manager at CRP Ltd, said: “Part of the company’s strategy has been to develop its PFA moulding capability to allow it to manufacture both larger and more complex components. The KTP fits directly into this strategic aim.”

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership has enhanced CRP’s abilities in PFA moulding to allow it to mould both larger and more complex components, making it more competitive in an international market.

The company now has a greater understanding of PFA processing, the width of PFA’s processing envelope, how long it takes to heat PFA prior to production, and how to melt large quantities of the polymer.

KTP’s have been running for more than 40 years and help businesses improve productivity and performance to stay competitive.

On average, each project delivers an increase of £600,000 in pre-tax profit a few years after the project, two new jobs and 20 staff trained for the host company. 

For more information on how you could benefit from a KTP with the University of Bradford, visit the website here.

Published: 12 January 2018

Article by Bryce Wilcock
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