New ultra precision laboratory for Cranfield University

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 21 March 2008



(2008), "New ultra precision laboratory for Cranfield University", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 80 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

New ultra precision laboratory for Cranfield University

Article Type: University and research news From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 80, Issue 2.

Cranfield University has officially opened its Hexagon Loxham Precision Laboratory, a new facility designed for leading-edge ultra precision research.

Richard Lambert, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry unveiled the new world-class facility to an audience of representatives from government and industry.

The laboratory will aid Cranfield's significant research into the manufacture of mirrors for the NASA James Webb Space Telescope. It will also help scientists develop technologies for finding earth-like planets and forms of life in space, as well as medical devices to extend and enhance human life.

The facility is also designed to support Masters' students studying on Cranfield's new Ultra Precision Technologies course which started in September last year.

The 400m2 facility boasts a state-of- the-art temperature and humidity controlled workspace and is the latest addition to the Cranfield University Precision Engineering Centre. This centre of excellence in advanced manufacturing technologies houses the most accurate diamond machining facilities in the world.

The new purpose-built facility boasts a state-of-the-art temperature controlled workspace and houses high- specification equipment including the most accurate large-scale measuring machine in the UK.

The Precision Engineering Centre also manages the Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council's (EPSRC's) Integrated Knowledge Centre for Ultra Precision based at the OpTIC Technium in North Wales, and is currently contributing to the EPSRC “Grand Challenge” 3D mintigration which focuses on micro device fabrication methods.

Professor Paul Shore, McKeown Chair of Ultra Precision Technologies and Head of the Precision Engineering Centre, said: “Cranfield has a history of delivering high-quality ultra precision technologies for a range of different applications and sectors. This new facility reinforces our commitment to precision engineering and I am confident that we will continue to securely position Cranfield at the leading-edge of current research for industry.”

The new lab is sponsored by Hexagon Metrology, a global manufacturer of ultra precision metrology systems and named after the late Professor John Loxham who was an eminent Precision Engineer and Metrologist.

Hexagon Metrology has supplied the new Cranfield laboratory with an ultra high-accuracy Leitz PMM-F co-ordinate measuring machine to facilitate mirror production for extra large telescopes. The x 400,000 machine will also be used for other precision measurement tasks carried out by Cranfield for its R&D customers.

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