GKN Aerospace is to establish an Advanced Composites Facility (ACF) dedicated to the development of the next generation of design and manufacturing technologies for large composite aerostructures.
GKN is already the world’s leading independent supplier of composite aircraft structures and the new facility will allow GKN Aerospace to maintain its strong technology advantage.
The complete facility, including research, development and advanced manufacturing capabilities will be housed in a new, facility on the Isle of Wight, UK. Operations will begin in 2005 with an initial staff of 20 design and development engineers.
Kevin Smith, GKN Chief Executive, said: “GKN’s expertise in composites has allowed us to win some major contracts. One of the most significant is the wing spars for the Airbus A400M – the first time composites have been used for such key primary structures in a large aircraft wing.
“This new facility will ensure that we remain at the forefront of composite design and production and is a valuable addition to the Group’s other extensive research and development facilities in automotive driveline and powder metallurgy.
“The advanced development activities of the ACF will be funded 50% by GKN and 50% by a partnership between the South East England Development Agency and the Department of Trade and Industry. The trade union Amicus has also been an effective member of the partnership which has helped make this new facility a reality.”
Phil Grainger, Group Technical Director, GKN Aerospace said: “The ACF will be truly world class – one of the most advanced facilities of its type in the world. It will develop design concepts, processes and equipment to take manufacturing of complex composite components and assemblies to the next level of automation.
“We believe we can significantly reduce the recurring costs inherent in the process today and, with our world leading capabilities already developed, make composites more broadly applicable across airframe and engine structures.”
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