Sunday, July 12, 2020

Wetherby company develops new fabric for revolutionary airship

Technical textiles specialist Arville has developed a specialist fabric for the helium-filled fuselage of a new type of unmanned aerial vehicle

With the potential to transform telecommunications, the technology could provide an alternative to costly satellites. Wetherby-headquartered Arville worked with the project team, including researchers from five universities and several companies, to develop the lighter-than-air, 15-metre long, 120kg aircraft.

Called Phoenix, it has the appearance of an airship, with wings and solar panels, and is designed to stay in the air indefinitely. The project leaders’ aim is to develop a more cost-effective alternative to launching satellites, which – in turn – could revolutionise telecommunications systems.

Tested in Portsmouth, Phoenix ascends like a balloon and flies under its own propulsion, although it has no engines. Internal compressors can bring in air from outside to make the plane heavier and allow it to descend – or move forward, by expelling air.

Arville’s Group Head of Marketing Andy Smith said: “As part of a consultative approach we worked closely with the design engineers to establish all of the physical parameters that the material needed and how it would interact with other components within the structure of the aircraft.

“We had very strict physical performance requirements to work with – based around weight, tensile strength, UV and weather resistance, and gas permeability.”

The end result is a lighter-than-air self-powered craft with a main body fuselage that can contain 120m cubic metres of pressurised helium.

The project, part-funded by the UK government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, has seen involvement from the Universities of Highlands and Islands, Bristol, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton.

Also on board are three of the UK’s Technology Catapults – the Centre for Process Innovation, the Manufacturing Technology Centre and the National Composites Centre – and several companies who have manufactured and supplied components, including Arville.

Arville has achieves successive year-on-year double digit growth. The company, which dates back to the 1950s, recently invested £1.2m in new weaving and warping machines to meet a strategic need to boost its manufacturing capabilities.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 lockdown having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £31.50 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.




Latest news

Regeneration proposals to be developed for Goole

East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Cabinet has confirmed support for developing a Town Deal for Goole. Councillors have agreed to press ahead with preparation of...

University Centre completes in Grantham

Work to create a University Centre to deliver higher education and skills training in Grantham is now complete. Degrees, high-level apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses...

IPF ‘very encouraged’ by firm’s improving performance

International Personal Finance (IPF), a Leeds-based consumer credit firm, has reported an uptick in collections in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Collections reached 88%...

Sheffield’s Heart of the City II moves forward

Sheffield’s ongoing Heart of the City II scheme is moving forward as the city council pledges “exemplary ethical and sustainability standards” whilst also opening...

350 jobs on the line at Arup

Arup, which has offices in Leeds, Sheffield and York, is set to cut 350 jobs. The engineering and design consultancy's redundancies come as a result...

Leeds RICS office to close

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is closing its Leeds office according to reports in Property Week. Other offices set to shut are in...

Related news

Regeneration proposals to be developed for Goole

East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Cabinet has confirmed support for developing a Town Deal for Goole. Councillors have agreed to press ahead with preparation of...

University Centre completes in Grantham

Work to create a University Centre to deliver higher education and skills training in Grantham is now complete. Degrees, high-level apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses...

IPF ‘very encouraged’ by firm’s improving performance

International Personal Finance (IPF), a Leeds-based consumer credit firm, has reported an uptick in collections in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Collections reached 88%...

Sheffield’s Heart of the City II moves forward

Sheffield’s ongoing Heart of the City II scheme is moving forward as the city council pledges “exemplary ethical and sustainability standards” whilst also opening...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close