McNair Center, Ingersoll to collaborate on fiber steering research

May 05 2014

Use of production-level AFP machine a first for U.S. university research center

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, a University of South Carolina center, is partnering with Ingersoll Machine Tools and has acquired a production-level automated fiber placement machine (Lynx AFP, 16x0.250") for use in developing new lightweight composite structures.

The AFP machine - the first of its kind to be used in a university research setting—represents the core of the McNair Center’s advanced composite manufacturing laboratory. The laboratory is designed for science-based aerospace engineering, educational programs in support of industry research, and the production of emerging materials technology. 

"Advances in technology have created the ability to steer fiber within components to make them stronger where they need to be, lighter where they can be, and more flexible than ever," said Martin Keaney, executive director of McNair. "The acquisition of this production-level AFP machine will get us closer to our goal of becoming the research center of choice for aerospace in the United States." 

The McNair Center, which opened in 2011, has more than two dozen contributing researchers working in a wide range of aerospace related research fields. The goal of the partnership is to develop and commercialize new technology, processes and methods and take products to market through licensing agreements. Ingersoll is a global leader in advanced machine tools and its technology is widely used in aerospace, energy and transportation production. 

The partnership between the McNair Center and Ingersoll is a six-year collaboration that will support both open and proprietary research for aerospace industry clients.  Use of the Lynx AFP - the same machines that manufactures 70 percent of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s fuselage —will allow for the manufacturing of complex, full-scale composite material prototypes. It also can be used as service center and process improvement lab for fiber steering technology used in aerospace, renewable energy and host of other industries. 

"We’re pleased that our technology will be used in a university-based research setting, expanding the boundaries of what can be achieved with fiber steering technology. This type of research is crucial in advancing the science behind developing the next-generation aerospace components," said Tino Oldani, president and CEO of Ingersoll Machine Tools, Inc.

The Lynx AFP, which is being acquired through a lease/purchase agreement, will be ready for use at McNair’s Columbia, S.C. facility at the University of South Carolina this summer. 


About the McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research

The McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research at the University of South Carolina is named in honor of South Carolina native and astronaut Ronald E. McNair. Formed in 2011, it is dedicated to bringing together top researchers and industry leaders to meet the technological demands of tomorrow’s aerospace market. McNair’s research is based on specific industry needs and examines a wide range of areas, including: analysis and design; polymeric, metallic and ceramic composites; lightweight metals; stir friction welding and processing; advanced composite structures and certification, durability, fatigue analysis; and health monitoring and condition based maintenance of lightweight structures. It also works to enhance student learning and develop a pipeline of future aerospace engineers.

About Ingersoll Machine Tools

Ingersoll is a global leader in the development of advanced machine tools for the world’s aerospace, transportation, energy, and other heavy industries. Products range from general purpose machines that bring greater flexibility and productive to a wide variety of parts, to special purpose, one-of-a-kind machines delivering unique solutions. For the aerospace industry, Ingersoll excels in building machines to produce component parts and large structures made of aluminum, hard metals, and composite materials. In addition, Ingersoll provides a unique contract manufacturing resource for prototype machining and production runs, from small engine parts to locomotive diesel blocks and windmill hubs. For more than a century, Ingersoll has led in the continuous improvement of machines and processes that enable customers around the world to meet the challenge for more efficient production, higher quality, and ultimately, greater competitive advantage.