Sep 27, 2015 | By Benedict

Many movie fans still have nightmares about the T-1000 robot from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which is able to reform its metal body even after it has been blown to smithereens by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s more personable T-800 robot. This week, Ilika PLC, an accelerated materials innovation company, can say ‘Hasta la vista, baby’ to financial strain, as they have received a £466,000 grant for research and technology, as part of a £2.15 million, 3-year collaborative project with Reliance Precision Engineering, University of Sheffield, GKN and BAE Systems. Although their technology is not entirely analogous to that of the fictional T-1000, Ilika’s project may remind some of the iconic villainous android, for they too are concerned with the development of self-healing alloys: metals which can, so to speak, ‘seal over’ their own cracks, contributing to a far greater structural integrity.

Ilika’s project in fact has two objectives. The first is to develop a new generation of self-healing alloys suitable for additive manufacturing processes. The second is to develop a metallic manufacturing process which is able to combine the flexibility of additive manufacturing with the precision of subtractive manufacturing. Working in the aerospace industry, Ilika intend this project to result in the production of superior mechanisms with lower weight, structural integrity and functional performance.

The future looks rosy for Ilika, with the large grant following on from their success in a competition run by Innovate UK on behalf of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), with funding from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Ilika’s project aligns the UK’s aerospace supply chain, demonstrating a clear commercialisation route. Their proposal was submitted to a competition entitled “Building UK’s Leadership in Aerospace Technology”, run by Innovate, in partnership with the ATI and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The proposal impressed the selectors and was ultimately successful.

Left: Graeme Purdy, Ilika PLC CEO. All Images from Ilica PLC.

Graeme Purdy, Ilika CEO, had the following to say about the exciting new developments surrounding his company: “Additive manufacturing methods hold great promise for the rapid, cost-effective provision of complex components. One of the barriers to the wider adoption of the technology is the availability of alloys suitable for this manufacturing method. Ilika’s proprietary high throughput techniques allow us to address this challenge in a unique and cost effective manner. The funding, supported by the ATI and Innovate UK, has enabled us to create a unique consortium and we look forward to a close and fruitful collaboration with our project partners.”

We at 3Ders will be keeping a close eye on Ilika PLC and their additive manufacturing project. Although we don’t know what will come of their research, we can be sure of one thing: they’ll be back.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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