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Worldwide patents for superplastic forming technology granted to Rhodes Group

by Anna

Group Rhodes, a prominent original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the UK, has recently been awarded patents in Europe and China for its cutting-edge Superplastic Forming (SPF) and Diffusion Bonding (DB) technology.

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The patented technology, pivotal in the fabrication of large and intricate components, involves the diffusion bonding of multiple layers of titanium sheet at selected points. Subsequently, inert (argon) gas is employed to superplastically form the sheets into the shape of a hollow die. This highly sensitive process to temperature and pressure allows for the creation of more intricate shapes, eliminating spring back and achieving significantly higher elongation compared to conventional metalforming methods.

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A crucial aspect of this technology lies in the controlled admission of ambient temperature argon forming gas into the heated component. The gas expands upon entry, increasing both volume and pressure, necessitating precise control. The recently granted patent by Group Rhodes enhances this control mechanism, compensating for atmospheric pressure fluctuations.

Widely utilized in the aerospace and automotive industries for lightweighting components, Superplastic Forming and Diffusion Bonding are integral to enhancing performance, reducing carbon footprint, and facilitating the implementation of low-emission technologies.

Expressing his thoughts on this achievement, Peter Anderton, the Technical Director of Group Rhodes, emphasized, “This new innovation elevates Superplastic Forming accuracy, reduces scrappage, and improves productivity. The recent patent grants in Europe and China solidify Group Rhodes’ position as a leading global provider of this groundbreaking technology.”

With a history spanning over 40 years, Group Rhodes has been at the forefront of developing and manufacturing the SPF/DB process. The company actively markets its state-of-the-art machinery to both domestic and global markets, showcasing extensive capabilities in designing, developing, and manufacturing bespoke equipment, providing turnkey solutions.

As Group Rhodes celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2024, the company takes pride in fostering a dedicated workforce within a traditional yet dynamic manufacturing environment.

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