The success of our customers is important to us.
Air Force High Temperature / Infra Red Combination Dryer
The award, is given to BAE Systems employees, colleagues and industry partners for ‘outstanding new and innovative ways in which they help shape BAE Systems and contribute towards its global success.'
Natgraph worked with BAE Systems to provide a solution to a drying problem encountered during the manufacture of its Eurofighter Typhoon at the Samlesbury factory in Lancashire UK. This involved the production process for the canard wing, (the part of the aircraft that gives the plane its agility), using "stop off" (a ceramic paste) printed onto titanium layers to form a specific pattern. These layers of titanium are ultimately bonded together and then inflated to become extremely strong but very light component parts of defence aircraft.
BAE's Senior Manufacturing Engineer, John Cadman, explained the problem: "We were basically using an out of date drying system that didn't meet our exacting standards, particularly from a repeatability point of view. We couldn't guarantee the consistency of drying the paste to our specifications. Following research, we invited Natgraph to tender for this project and theirs was the best technical submission by far. We made several trips to their Drying Solutions Centre and following a number of trials, they specified a bespoke and dedicated drying system for our process.
"Natgraph have been very supportive in installing the equipment and in providing after sales support. They went out of their way to provide excellent customer care and we are still able to just pick up the phone if we have a query."
Natgraph's solution was an adaptation of one of its Air Force High Temperature range of conveyorised dryers to work in BAE's clean room and that would effectively dry products at the exact temperature required. Since installing the dryer, BAE have been able to dry consistently and repeatably.
Alan Shaw Natgraph's Commercial Director commented: "We were delighted to receive this award. It is recognition of the drying solutions we provide month in month out at Natgraph. We see our customers' problems as a challenge and an opportunity. We enjoy finding the solution and developing new ideas. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with BAE into the future."
Having accepted Natgraph's tender for the Dryer, BAE then invited Natgraph to tender for a fully automatic screen cleaning line. Natgraph was also successful in securing this order and developed a special, automatic screen system with Grunig-Interscreen AG of Switzerland, this included a special Natgraph screen frame drying cabinet that was manufactured to BAE's specification.
The complete installation had to be manufactured to be explosion proof as the solvents involved have a low flash point. The successful design development manufacture and installation resulted in Natgraph receiving the BAE Chairman's award.
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