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SkyLight: Innovations in titanium investment casting of lightweight structural components for aero engines

Project description

Defying limits and innovating to forge a new era in casting

Time to prepare for a seismic shift in the cast metal and manufacturing sectors. Researchers are tackling the long-standing challenges faced by the investment casting process. The EU funded SkyLight project is leading their endeavour to shatter limitations and propel the industry into uncharted territories. Specifically, the project is expected to unleash unparalleled geometrical complexity, cut defects by a staggering 50 %, optimise stiffness, and deliver weight savings of 15 % to 30 %. AMRC Castings, a department of the esteemed University of Sheffield, which is coordinating the project, is set to install a colossal furnace for casting titanium aerospace components, further solidifying their position as leaders in the field.


Project SkyLight is proposed by AMRC Castings (which evolved out of Castings Technology International). AMRC Castings, a department of the University of Sheffield (USFD), is part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult. AMRC Castings’ mission is to develop and disseminate casting technology to the benefit of the cast metal and manufacturing sectors.
Based on the Topic Description, and on AMRC Castings’ long experience of similar projects, we believe that project SkyLight would enable the investment casting process to deliver greater geometrical complexity, reduce defects by 50%, optimise stiffness, and deliver weight saving of 15% to 30% and cost saving of 30% compared to conventionally fabricated multi-piece assemblies, along with significant environmental benefits for both the manufacturing and the use phase of the component.
AMRC Castings helped Sulzer to achieve an improvement in pump absorbed efficiency - saving 10% on the power demand. AMRC Castings’ Patternless® process helped Rolls-Royce reduce the time from CAD model to prototypes from 6 months to 6 weeks, and developed more accurate naval propellers for the VT Group that are seen as setting a new standard for others to follow. AMRC Castings’ MEGAshell® process enables ceramic moulds with dimensions of up to 2m3 to be manufactured so that heavy section valve castings weighing several tonnes can be manufactured 34% lighter than the sand cast equivalent and reducing machining costs by over 50%.
This year, AMRC Castings is installing what is believed to be the largest furnace for casting titanium aerospace components in Western Europe - a 1000kg titanium melter - to complement its existing state-of-the-art casting facilities.
AMRC Castings has participated in 21 EU-funded collaborative research projects including 8 projects as coordinator - including research projects such as FASTCAST and events to achieve the greater participation of the castings sector in EU-funded research programmes.


Net EU contribution
€ 801 040,25
S10 2TN Sheffield
United Kingdom

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Yorkshire and the Humber South Yorkshire Sheffield
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 801 040,25