Aerospace composites centre

Posted on 10 Dec 2009 by The Manufacturer

GKN Aerospace joined industry partners Vestas, Airbus and Rolls Royce in celebrating the Government’s announcement of a new National Composites Centre (NCC).

Based in the south west of England, the NCC is close to two of GKN Aerospace’s key UK facilities — at Filton in Bristol and Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Many of the new techniques developed recently are already being implemented in the new automated production facility now being created at the Company’s Filton West site in Bristol, and due to be operational in 2010. Filton, acquired from Airbus in January this year, is to be developed as GKN Aerospace’s global centre of excellence in aero-structures, offering state of the art composite manufacture and assembly with faster turn around times and greater consistency and quality than has been achievable to date.

Created by the South West RDA, Bristol University and the industrial partners, the NCC will be a purpose-built 6,000m2 facility with workshop space, open-plan offices, meeting rooms and teaching facilities. Expected to be fully operational by 1st April 2011, it will be an independent open-access national centre delivering world-class innovation in the design and rapid manufacture of composites and enabling widespread industrial exploitation.

Marcus Bryson, CEO, GKN Aerospace, said: “We were a founding member of the UK’s National Composites Network, launched in 2005, and are fully committed to the Government’s National Composites Strategy. This new Centre in the South West will be a key facility in enabling UK manufacturing as a whole to develop new composite material applications, and to extend our expertise in an area that is a critical UK manufacturing skill for the future.”

He continued: “The NCC will be of critical support as we push ahead with our research and development work, helping us and our team of suppliers extend the UK’s involvement in the growing global aerospace market over the next 30 to 40 years.”