ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

The World Rally Championship (WRC) remains undecided on how its cars should be powered beyond 2024, according to a report on the Autosport website. The Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) rally director Yves Matton said the WRC has ‘no clear position’ on the matter.

Currently, all WRC cars are petrol powered, but from 2022, new rules mean that Rally1 cars will be powered by a hybrid system. An internal combustion engine will be combined with a 134bhp electric motor, giving the Rally1 cars just over 500bhp in total. The rules are initially set to apply for three seasons.

When questioned whether the hybrid approach would dampen enthusiasm for the sport, Matton said: "At the moment, it seems that there is no clear position for the future – full BEV [Battery Electric Vehicle], hydrogen fuel cell and e-fuels [synthetic fuels like methanol] all seem to have a place in the following era.”

Matton continues: “What we do know is that motorsport will continue to do what it does best: adapt and embrace the market trends, consumer needs and societal change.” The regulations will be reviewed after three years, to take into account any new developments in technology.

It has been suggested by the FIA that the power from the onboard battery pack can be deployed exclusively on certain sections of the rally, such as pedestrianised urban areas, to limit emissions. At other points on the route, the extra power could be used to enhance performance.

Meanwhile, Rally GB lost its slot in the 2021 schedule, meaning that the UK will not be hosting a round of WRC for only the third time since the origin of the series in 1973. There were hopes that the event would be hosted in Northern Ireland, but talks to secure £2 million in funding came to nothing.

Matton has expressed confidence that the UK will be welcomed back into the calendar, despite the disappoint of this year.

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The government is set to invest £90m into five major innovate aerospace projects that have the potential to revolutionise the field of aerospace manufacturing.

The projects set to benefit from the Aerospace Technology Institute Programme range from a 3D printer for precise metal components, automatic wire manufacturing and development into composite materials for wings, according to a Gov UK press release.

The focus of the grants primarily focuses on simplifying and speeding up the production of high-quality aerospace parts, using technologies such as electron beam welding and 3D printing, as well as creating ever more lightweight materials.

The latter aspect is particularly important as weight is the primary factor as to whether certain flight plans are possible, and the less heavy the plane is, the less fuel is required to travel a given distance.

This also creates the potential for hybrid and electric powered aircraft in the future.

The five projects that are set to receive the grant money include:
  • Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development (ASCEND) – This consortium, which includes GKN Aerospace and McLaren Automotive is focused on technology development for creating composite materials.
  • Large Scale Additive Manufacturing for Defence and Aerospace (LAMDA) – This project is set to develop a 3D printer for metal components, which will allow small parts to be mass-produced with a greater level of consistency.
  • Smarter Testing – The initiative, led by Airbus, aims to create a new testing process for aircraft and their various parts, which will combine virtual tests with physical ones to reduce development time and costs.
  • Connected Reconfigurable Factory (COREF) – This attempts to bring smart industry concepts, tools and processes to more complex low volume manufacturing, creating two innovation laboratories that can help to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
  • LiveWire – A system for automating wiring, currently a process that is undertaken by hand, which will lead to better-performing electronics at a lower cost.
A ground breaking project which uses 3D technology to get an accurate printed model of a patient’s heart before surgery is underway, reports. The program will be funded by Hampshire charity Wessex Heartbeat, and the technology will be used by clinicians operating on children at University Hospital Southampton.

3D modelling is being more widely used throughout the NHS, for greater accuracy in the pre-operative planning stage for children with congenital heart disease (CHD). The recreation of the patient’s heart will give in-depth insights for surgeons, allowing them to plan procedures down to the last tiny detail.

Mr Nicola Viola, who is one of the UK’s top paediatric and adult congenital cardiac surgeons said: “Working with Axial3D’s 3D printing team allows us to focus on the patient’s heart in the confidence that they are printing exactly what we need.”

“Even more importantly, the ability to customise each model before printing allows us to personalise treatment further, ensuring that we know exactly what we are dealing with before reaching the operating theatre.”

The more efficient method of surgery will also reduce the number of invasive operations the child will have to undergo in the future, as well as giving peace of mind to the family. The 3D printing service is provided by Axial3D, who are specialists in this field, and can create and ship a model in under 48 hours.

The firm are hoping to dispel myths that 3D printing within the medical sector is a drawn out and expensive process. They have made their printing hub accessible to all NHS and private hospitals.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the UK and is especially devastating for children and their families. The revolutionary technology will transform and personalise treatment, and can also be used to provide training opportunities.

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