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High-performance engineering and additive manufacturing specialist KW Special Projects (KWSP), has invested in the British manufactured RPS NEO800 stereolithography system for their new Silverstone based Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC) opening in Autumn 2020.

KWSP, also with a base in Bicester, has received funding from South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) to build a new 1,657-square-metre Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC) at Silverstone Park. The DMC will be used as an additive manufacturing hub and innovation centre, offering businesses the ability to access the benefits of additive manufacturing technologies with a focus on motorsport, automotive and aerospace sectors – industries KWSP has been working closely with since 2013. The DMC will have a full range of Additive Manufacturing capability, including design, engineering, manufacturing, inspection and post processing, making the DMC a one stop shop for Additive Manufacturing services.

The NEO800 will be printing parts in PerFORM Reflect, an advanced photopolymer from DSM Somos. The printed parts can be used for injection moulding tools, carbon fibre tooling, as well as high speed wind tunnel models to assess flow visualisation. The photopolymer is bright orange in colour having been developed and optimised for particle image velocimetry testing, (PIV). PIV is utilised with measuring lasers to obtain instantons velocity measurements at very high speeds, where conventional wind tunnel measuring techniques are inadequate.

The NEO800 features a build envelope of 800 x 800 x 600 (XY&Z), offering the ability to print very large parts, eliminating the need for sectioning joining and bonding. The high scanning resolution of the NEO800 produces parts with exceptional side-wall quality, reducing the costs and need for timely hand finishing and post processing of the printed parts.

Kieron Salter, Director of KWSP stated: “The acquisition of the NEO800 machine and Somos DSM PerFORM Reflect together with a large build platform (800 x 800 X 600mm) broadens our additive manufacturing capacity here at KWSP. We are the only external UK supplier of printed parts in Somos DSM PerFORM Reflect and can provide clients a developed material that is perfect for a range of applications including wind tunnel testing with PIV and Composite Tooling. With the launch of the KWSP’s specialist Digital Manufacturing Centre in Autumn 2020 we look forward to bringing this capability together with metallic additive manufacturing processes and of course our existing established FDM to a wide range of customers”.

Director of RPS David Storey, said: “We are thrilled that KWSP have selected the RPS NEO800 printer, which will be housed locally at the Digital Manufacturing Centre in Silverstone. This area known for its specialist F1 motorsport innovation, technology and educational training facilities”.

“Offering customers the ability to learn more about the benefits of additive manufacturing compared to traditional methods is important. Understanding how additive manufacturing can work for their specific manufacturing applications, in a neutral environment, is a great way to help with understanding the technology, and to reassure anyone before making an investment to 3D print parts, jigs, fixtures and tools”.