Senator Brown and Airbus Announce New R&D Consortium Centre

31 January 2012

US Senator Sherrod Brown, Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor, and Lisa Novelli, President of the National Composite Centre (NCC) have joined their efforts to establish a new aerospace research and development consortium.

The five-year agreement is aimed at strengthening Ohio’s aerospace industry and boosting economic development throughout the state. According to Brown's office, Brown, McArtor, and Novelli were joined by Art Fritts of NanoSperse a company in Kettering that will develop and commercialise advanced materials for next generation Airbus aircraft.

“This is about creating jobs by making Ohio Airbus’ home in the US Ohio is an aerospace leader because of our innovative businesses, world-class universities, and skilled, dedicated workforce,” Brown said. “This new agreement builds on Airbus’ commitment to our state, gives Ohio companies new opportunities to develop cutting-edge aerospace materials, and sends Ohio-born next-generation technologies to market worldwide.”

“Airbus is proud and excited to be a partner with the NCC and Ohio as we work together to develop the composite technology for the next generation of aircraft,” said McArtor. “Airbus’ intent is to double its procurement spend in the US over the next few years, and there’s no reason Ohio companies can’t benefit from that. The state has so much to offer, and we already have a growing and thriving partnership. I predict even more great things in the future.”

“This agreement will establish a new aerospace research and development consortium allowing NCC to link new and upcoming Ohio aerospace technologies to Airbus’s technology needs,” Novelli said. “NCC and partner companies will build on the innovative aerospace community in the Miami Valley and throughout the State to increase development opportunities for Ohio businesses and entrepreneurs.”

“When NanoSperse first opened its new facility we began shipping products targeted for use in a military aircraft within two weeks.  That was not luck—it was because of a development strategy to nurture and grow advanced aerospace materials as a fundamental building block for future economic growth in the Dayton region and Ohio,” Fritts said. “And today’s announcement will expand opportunities for NanoSperse to shape the advanced technology future of aerospace by providing nanomaterials for companies like Airbus.”

Airbus says they are working through the NCC to develop a research and development consortium of Ohio aerospace suppliers, incubators, and universities to develop next-generation products for use in Airbus’ new fleet. Ohio businesses will receive technical and financial support for developing and demonstrating new technologies to produce high-tech component parts for Airbus. This supply chain will support and create jobs at Ohio manufacturers and expand research and development opportunities at Ohio colleges and universities.

The agreement is expected to establish Airbus as a long-term presence in Ohio manufacturing and research and is the result of an effort between Sen. Brown’s office and Airbus Americas to foster increased business between the company and Ohio aerospace suppliers. In April 2010, the National Composites Centre (NCC) hosted one of three procurement conferences to connect Ohio businesses with opportunities to break into the Airbus supply chain. More than 800 participants registered to attend the three summits. The summits were designed to identify new contract opportunities, educate Ohio aerospace suppliers about the procurement process, and enable Ohio companies to meet one-on-one with representatives from Airbus and its Tier 1 suppliers. The summits were unique because they directly connected suppliers to potential contracting opportunities. In October 2009, Brown and McArtor announced the formalisation of a partnership between Airbus and Ohio suppliers aimed at growing Ohio’s aerospace industry.

“The partnership between Airbus and the National Composite Centre is the type of success we like to see from companies that have been assisted through our state programs,” said Christiane Schmenk, Director of the Ohio Department of Development. “The National Composite Centre has been a recipient of Ohio Third Frontier investments and has also been greatly assisted by our local Entrepreneurial Signature Program partner, the Dayton Development Coalition – both of which were key to the company securing the Airbus contract.”

“We are excited that Airbus recognizes the quality and volume of breakthrough technologies in the Dayton Region,” said Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. “Along with collaborators like the National Composite Centre and the University of Dayton Research Institute, we believe the presence of these platform technologies and the strong work force clustered around them will also lead to new attraction opportunities.”

“This consortium reflects the efforts of Montgomery County and the Dayton Region to maximize the attraction and growth of aerospace and technology companies, a key component of our Economic Development Strategy,” said Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge.  “We are incredibly proud that Airbus recognises the assets we have to offer here in the Ohio Hub of Innovation and Opportunity for Aerospace and we look forward to building on this partnership.”

Senator Brown's office explain that in the first effort of this new aerospace research and development consortium NanoSperse and six other Ohio companies and incubators will develop and commercialise new technologies in nano-materials and carbon fibres for Airbus. They say Airbus have already committed to a $1 million deal with NCC, the consortium manager, and can issue additional purchase orders over the five-year period of the agreement.

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