Amsterdam rolled and extruded aluminium leader Constellium N.V. revealed yesterday the opening of an expansion to the University Technology Center (UTC) at London’s Brunel University as well as the debut of a new on-campus research and development center, the Advanced Metals Processing Centre (AMPC).
Per Constellium, the AMPC’s newest capabilities include freeform 3D bending, electromagnetic pulse forming, and sawing. In addition, the UTC now boasts new joining techniques such as welding, flow drill screw and self-piercing rivets.
The new additions are the latest step in the evolution of the UTC, which is a joint effort between Constellium and Brunel University to accelerate the pace of aluminium alloy development and usage in the automotive industry.
Initially tasked with developing methods and processes for cutting in half the time needed for new alloys to reach the wider market, Constellium indicates that the new facilities will begin testing Crash Management Systems, body structure components, and battery enclosures for use in hybrid and electric vehicle construction.
Commenting at the facilities’ dedication, Paul Warton, President of Constellium’s Automotive Structures and Industry business unit, hailed the progress the UTC has already made, noting it is a prelude for what is to come for the Center.
“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. Now, we are expanding our presence at Brunel to be able to apply that knowledge by rapid prototyping aluminium structural components for automakers and transferring new manufacturing methods to Constellium’s plants for series production with dedicated R&D resources.”
Constellium, based in Amsterdam, was founded 1855 as Henri Merle et Compagnie and subsequently renamed Pechiney in 1950. Pechiney was purchased by Alcan in 2003, which was purchased by Rio Tinto in 2007. In 2011 Rio Tinto sold Alcan Engineered Products to Apollo Management (51%) and FSI (10%). The firm produces rolled and extruded aluminium products from various alloys. The firm brought in €5.2 billion of revenue in 2017.