The Bloodhound gang

Posted on 1 Aug 2013 by The Manufacturer

Engineering Lead at Bloodhound, Conor La Grue, updates us on the progress of the Bloodhound SSC project as the team gets fully settled into their new Avonmouth base.

July is over. Crikey! – But progress abounds here and we are now fully settled and operational in our new home here in Avonmouth.

With the move completed we were again able to look forwards and review the time remaining to complete the design, manufacture and assembly of BLOODHOUND SSC.

Having worked in; Defence, Oil Industry, emerging telephony and motor sport, I count myself as extremely lucky to have been exposed to varied industry views on programme management and project planning. My multiple industry experience has left me not as an optimist, nor as a pessimist but firmly as a realist!

Hi-Q Sigma very kindly product sponsored some highly skilled programme planning resource to sweep through the project and all its facets including the manufacturing phase.

I am pleased to say that my own personal view of the remaining overall programme timescale was very close indeed to what was independently produced by the team of planners from Hi-Q Sigma.

Monocoque, rails, trellis on the surface table July

So we are now all working to a very aggressive but achievable timescale and in the last few days we have hit a number of crucial targets and even beaten a key one by a few days. So not only do we get a boost as a team as we see primary structure coming together, we also feel like we are winning in the battle to get the car designed, manufactured and assembled when we beat a date set eight weeks ago by a clear 24 hours despite a number of setbacks and challenges along the way!

Just as we moved home we completed the 30 month activity that is the lower rear chassis build – you can read the story in full on the BLOODHOUND website. It’s been a hard road but was truly great to see the Monocoque and lower rear come together on the surface table  – a huge leap forward in the primary build phase for the car.

Rails go for cure at NCC 18th July 2013

In just a few days the Manufax Nelson lower chassis fixture became the fixture for the Rails – these fabricated structures run down the side of the car from the monocoque all the way to the very rear and are a critical interface for a number of areas including the airbrake hinges and also where the car splits apart from the upper chassis to enable the EJ200 jet engine to be fitted.

These have come together very quickly and the whole team pulled together to hit the deadlines. The build team did an amazing job to not just catch up after some delays in post processing components arriving, but to still complete a full day ahead of schedule! Thanks again to the National Composite Centre for their critical assistance in providing autoclave resource to accurately cure the bonded and riveted rails!

Stuart Allen our lead Engineer on Composites has been very busy getting the composite air intake component designs out the door and we have been working with URT Group to deliver some of these large components as resin infused parts rather than conventional pre preg composite tooled components.

These resin infused out-of-clave parts have helped reduce lead time and cost to deliver some very large pieces of the car structure and the URT team have done a great job in producing them right first time. Pictured below is the upper half of the large rear section of the air intake for EJ200.

Diffuser Floor – Nuclear AMRC sheffield July 2013

The rear suspension sub assembly package at Nuclear AMRC in Sheffield is nearing completion. These massive components have had a lot of love and care put into them, the largest of which (pictured below) is the diffuser floor.  Starting with a 480kg billet of aluminium, the final precision engineered part weighs just 55kg.

The team at Nuclear AMRC have done a simply fantastic job getting these highly complex parts right first time using a single billet and minimum tool holding.  The guys have worked not just in regular hours but in their own time too to produce these stunning components.  Thanks team!

As we look forwards with over a year to go on the design release for the rest of the car, the overall design team continues to grow. With major assemblies set to be in manufacture for the coming 18 months and then the smaller second and third order components will be arriving right up to the dead line for the car being rolled out and UK runway testing Q2 2015. It’s a busy road ahead!

Read more about the Bloodhound SSC project on the website.