Composites technology is on the rise and is being adopted by many large scale manufacturers, replacing older, heavier, less versatile materials. The National Composites Centre (NCC), based in the West of England is leading the way in the development and application of this technology, resulting in local business growth and jobs being created that require new, specialist skills and knowledge. The Rise of the Engineer Issue 2 factsheet delves into the composites sector, explaining exactly what composite materials are and the opportunities that are available in this new and exciting industry.
Composites are light weight, resistant to corrosion and harsh environments and offer great design flexibility. Composites are increasingly replacing traditional materials in transport, infrastructure and construction, medical and prosthetic applications and even everyday household items.
Advanced Composite Materials are key components driving the local aerospace industry, and is a key reason why the NCC is situated in the West of England. Expertise in design and automated manufacturing with these very high performance materials keeps Airbus Wing manufacture in the UK, and protects all the related local jobs. Did you know, 52% of the structural weight of the Airbus A350 XWB is made from composite material?
The NCC is an industrial technology development centre where more than 120 in-house engineers, designers and technicians as well as over 100 co-located staff members from the industrial partners work on industry led projects, some of which are top secret! The focus is on securing, re-shoring and developing the UK’s world leading excellence in composites manufacturing.
Nancy Bob-Manuel, graduate research engineer at the NCC has discovered first hand the opportunities available in this industry; “I am at the forefront of the application of composite materials into component and process design. Advanced composites are a new group of materials revolutionising high performance products in aerospace, automotive, medical and assistive technology. My projects have varied from designing casing to support robots, to travelling to Italy to view the future of the automation industry”.
To start your career in composites engineering, there are many pathways and options available, including apprenticeships and university. There are recruitment events for young people happening across the region during National Apprenticeship Week, March 2015 and please also view the latest top apprenticeship vacancies.