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SAMPE Award Recognises Achievements of GKN Aerospace Chief Technologist

05 June 2009

Phil Grainger, Senior Technical Director and Chief Technologist at GKN Aerospace has been honoured with an award from the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE).

The ‘Composites Achievement Award’ is presented annually at SAMPE’s European conference and recognises an individual who is pioneering the technology and advantages of advanced composites. Bob Griffiths, Past President of SAMPE International commented: “This award is in recognition of Phil Grainger’s outstanding work and contribution to developments in composite materials and structures that has enabled GKN Aerospace to grow into a major composite aero-structures supplier.”

With Grainger directing technological research and development, GKN Aerospace has taken a lead in driving developments in manufacturing technology that are enabling the growing application of composites across the aviation sector. Working in partnership with Airbus across a number of airframe programs including the pioneering A380, the A400M military transporter, and now the A350XWB, the GKN Aerospace team has evolved new techniques for composite manufacture which today are being used in production, allowing swifter, more consistent manufacture of parts which must meet the extremely strict tolerances required in the aviation sector.

Recently, GKN Aerospace has gained contracts, such as that for the A400M wing spar, which are using carbon fibre composites to produce primary, safety critical aircraft structures for the first time. State of the art Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) technology, now being installed at the Company’s new facility in Bristol, UK, will enable structures to be designed to meet specific requirements for qualities such as strength, stiffness or flexibility - fully exploiting the potential of composite materials for the first time. Phil Grainger commented: “Some years ago at GKN Aerospace we recognised the possible benefits, for performance, fuel consumption and weight, to be gained from the application of composite materials to the airframe. We have been participating in a number of critical UK and Europe supported R&D programmes which have been, and still are, exploring these possibilities. These programmes underpin our research and development and give us the valuable opportunity to work in partnership with our customers and the industry. Without any doubt, this is a field with huge potential and we are only beginning to appreciate the extent of those possible benefits for a more green, and more fuel efficient aviation business.”





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