Revolution in composite manufacturing

From June Issue of Compositi Magazine


Formed in 2007 in the UK, Velocity Composites manufacture advanced carbon fibre and process material kits for use in the production of aircraft. The company uses its process knowledge, industry accreditations and proprietary technology to reduce the amount of material and process waste created in the manufacture of advanced composite aerostructures. In turn, this reduces the aircraft manufacturers’ costs to allow its customers to meet the cost challenges and rate demand from the global OEMs: Airbus and Boeing.

The majority of the raw materials used by Velocity are supplied on rolls and are both expensive and temperature-sensitive with long lead times from single source providers. Having used equipment from other suppliers Velocity Composites purchased their first Zund Cutter in 2011 for their aerospace composites kit manufacturing department. Today, the company has a total of twelve Zund G3 Cutters across their Burnley and Fareham state-of-the-art production sites. 

Jon Bridges, CEO of Velocity Composites

We first spoke to Zund ten years ago and we were very impressed with the flexibility and endless digital opportunities the cutter offered. The Zund G3 proved to be very adaptable, and the versatile tools could process various materials with ease. We were also impressed with Zund’s approach to software flexibility as we have developed our own system to drive the machines, manage material efficiency and control the technical requirements of our products. This was an important factor to us as the digital machines allowed for our manufacturing cells to talk to our VRP system in real time and confirm process adherence, traceability and control”.

Due to the size of Velocity’s global customer and supplier base, the company has always worked towards being the advanced technology centre of excellence for material management and manufacturing.  They have heavily invested in IoT and have built proprietary software for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with their Zund cutters and other systems over the internet.

Jon Bridges said

Real-time data is always more valuable than seeing data from past events. We need real-time awareness of:

  • how much material we are using
  • any material defects we have had to work around
  • material batch traceability
  • how often the cutters are stopped (including cause)
  • cutters’ production start time and end time

This information is fed through to our live dashboard system which is reviewed by production managers in real-time. The Zund Cutter is a very important junction to our manufacturing process as it both receives and creates valuable process data which we can use to control, report, and improve”.

In line with the global nature of its business Velocity Composites are entering the North American market equipped with two Zund G3 Cutters. The subsidiary in the USA is looking to expand the company’s manufacturing excellence by creating advanced “flexible” manufacturing sites equipped with Zund digital cutters. These highly adaptable sites can easily and quickly be constructed, in a matter of weeks to be based close to or on-site with customers. This scalable model has global reach and potential that Velocity Composites has identified as key to rolling out its technology and services alongside customers.






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