Rockwood Composites, manufacturers of composite components, are celebrating ten years of rapid growth, with a six-fold increase in the workforce and turnover increasing almost 10-fold.
This has included over 50% growth compared to last year in the midst of huge uncertainty for the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Rockwood has gone from strength to strength recently in the face of the pandemic increasing turnover strongly and continued recruiting throughout with a 20% increase in staff in the last six months.
Rockwood designs and manufactures composite components using out-of-autoclave techniques, compression and bladder moulding of pre-preg composite material in metal tooling. It delivers cost effective solutions to technically demanding problems, showcasing first class quality components, promptly delivered into a wide range of sectors.
Mark Crouchen, Managing Director of Rockwood Composites, said: “Within the last 10 years, we have vastly expanded our services. We are proud to have worked with so many OEMs across the defence, aerospace, nuclear and marine sectors, to name but a few.
“The relationships that we have built with our customers over the past decade enables us to provide an excellent service. We work closely with customers and strive to over-deliver on product quality and cost effectiveness, providing continual process improvement for cost and performance optimisation.”
Rockwood has been supplying a wide range of industries, including aerospace, marine, defence and nuclear and has established a proven track record of delivering complex structures. Highlights include:
- Delivering the 2,500th part to Roxel, a European manufacturer of tactical propulsion systems.
- Worked with HAECO to revolutionise aircraft seating for the business market by developing and manufacturing a completely new style to the industry.
- Development of the towed decoy launch structure for the Eurofighter on behalf of Babcock.
- Celebrating 10 years with Leonardo with the production of the 10,000th blade for the towed decoy on the Eurofighter.
- Winner of a Composites UK Innovation in Manufacture Award.
- Designed and manufactured a wide range of high end cosmetic and engineering composite parts for the interiors of some of the world’s largest airlines.
- Designed and manufactured cryogenic suspension bands from pre-preg material for use in MRI scanners, including a patented method of supporting the bands.
- Designed and manufactured a range of relatively low-cost medical knee braces.
- Researched the use of composites in high voltage insulation for the development program for ITER’s nuclear fusion reactor.
- Employed composites in the central core of the UK’s newest fusion device, Tokamak Energy’s ST40, with a very precise application of a glass-fibre/Kapton®/glass-fibre insulation layer.
The company invests in continuous innovation to ensure customer satisfaction, developing new methods when no off-the-shelf product is available, such as manufacturing a high voltage (HV), high stress, electrical insulation systems for cryogenic applications using high pressure moulding (HPM) of pre-preg composite and polyimide film, to overcome existing products’ limitations.
This innovative technology has been applied to a new fusion reaction power generation system where the integrity of the HV insulation is a critical element in the construction to inhibit electrical short circuits within cryogenic high-power generation systems.
The press moulding process enables faster cycle times and produces high quality components which require a minimum of finishing. Rockwood started with one press and one CNC. It now has nine presses of varying sizes to cope with a wide range of components and five CNCs.
Mark Crouchen said: “The Rockwood technical and development team has gained expert knowledge and experience in the field of composite materials and manufacturing processes over many years of designing, developing and manufacturing composite components for a wide range of highly specialised applications.”
Let’s leave the last word to one of RWC’s customers. Laura Woodcock of Roxel UK said: “Rockwood are consistently reliable; they produce the parts efficiently and deliver them on time and within budget – they did exactly what they said they’d do. It’s great working with them.”