AMRC lends a hand to Sheffield students’ racing team

Posted on 6 Jul 2015 by Callum Bentley

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing lent a hand to 35 students designing and manufacturing a single seat-racing car capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in under five seconds.

The students from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Mechanical Engineering make up the Sheffield Formula Racing (SFR) team, who are entering this year’s car – the SFR6, into the annual Institute of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) Formula Student competition.

The annual motorsport competition is backed by industry and aims to inspire and develop young engineers from around the world.

SFR6 was launched at the AMRC’s Design Prototyping and Testing Centre after members of the AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) volunteered their time outside of normal working hours to help advise SFR on new methods of design and manufacture.

SFR car launch at AMRC: Members of the AMRC Integrated Manufacturing Group and Sheffield Formula Racing at the launch of the SFR6
SFR car launch at AMRC: Members of the AMRC Integrated Manufacturing Group and Sheffield Formula Racing at the launch of the SFR6

Team principal, Thomas Bloomfield told delegates at the launch he felt the car had come on in leaps and bounds during his four years with the team.

“Entering Formula Student is the opportunity to develop our real-world skills and employability, gaining hands on experience so we can prove we are industry-ready students,” Bloomfield said.

“This year we wanted to reduce the weight and bulk of the car whilst increasing its strength. It was an ideal opportunity to showcase the new technologies being developed by the AMRC.

“We have printed 17 components in titanium and polymers using additive manufacturing and for the first time we used robotic machining to mill down tooling blocks to create body panel moulds for composite materials to be laid up in.”

IMG project manager, Chris Greaves said: “We were able to assist the team by using robotic machining techniques we have developed to produce five body panel moulds for the car. Three were produced using our ABB robotic machining cell, which was programed using Master CAM, and two on our Mazak VTC800/30SR machining centre.”

“It also gave our apprentices based at the AMRC Training Centre the opportunity to carry out some basic machining tasks for the team, giving them hands on experience with producing real components.”

The launch at the AMRC was an opportunity for the students strengthen links between industry and academia; showcasing what they had achieved together with the University, the AMRC and their team sponsors, high profile engineering companies such as Meggitt and Unipart.

The four-day Formula Student competition will take place at Silverstone Circuit between 9-12 July and 100 teams of students from all over the world will compete. The team are hoping for a top 20 finish which would see them rank amongst the UK top five teams.