MTC gives projects wings

The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry is to play a key role in a £30m research programme which could revolutionise the design and manufacture of aircraft wings.

The MTC is one of five centres taking part in the Aerospace Technology Institute “VIEWS” programme led by GKN Aerospace.

The VIEWS (Validation and Integration of Manufacturing Enablers for Future Wing Structures) research programme will examine and test technologies for wing design, manufacture and assembly which could reduce costs by at least 20%.

The programme will also look at wing architecture design, production tooling and advanced new materials including composites.

The VIEWS team includes four industrial partners: GKN Aerospace, Bombardier Aerospace, Spirit AeroSystems, and GE Aviation; five of the UK’s high value manufacturing catapult centres:  the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the National Composites Centre, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (the University of Sheffield), the Warwick Manufacturing Group (the University of Warwick) and the Advanced Forming Research Centre (the University of Strathclyde); as well as the universities of Nottingham, Bath, Bristol and Sheffield Hallam.

Rich Oldfield, technical director of GKN Aerospace said: “Through the Aerospace Technology Institute the UK aerospace sector is able to work together effectively to develop promising technologies and processes that will help us maintain our position as the strongest national aerospace industry outside the USA.

“VIEWS will work from that base, taking us nearer to market readiness with a new generation of automated processes and technologies that will extend what we in the UK are able to manufacture, at the same time as increasing the quality, consistency and speed of production.”

The Manufacturing Technology Centre opened in 2011 and has already surpassed its 2020 targets. It is a partnership between some of the UK’s major global manufacturers and three forward-thinking universities: Birmingham, Nottingham and Loughborough as well as TWI Ltd, the operating division of The Welding Institute.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy.

The MTC is one of seven centres across the UK which form the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, established by Government in 2011 to provide a stimulus for British manufacturing. The MTC is supported by Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board).