Good news for the UK aerospace industry: GKN Aerospace has broken ground on a 10,000 square metre UK Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Bristol, and it has also secured 25 collaboration partners for the centre. The GTC is funded by a £17m commitment from GKN Aerospace and a £15m commitment from the UK Government through the ATI Programme, and the centre is expected to open in 2020. The GTC represents GKN Aerospace’s largest UK technology investment to date, announced in December 2018 as part of a record annual technology spend of £75m for GKN Aerospace.
The GTC is being built to create an inclusive environment to foster innovation and technical skills development, with universities, the UK’s CATAPULT network, GKN Aerospace’s UK supply chain, start-ups as well as large industrial companies joining the project. The centre will focus on additive manufacturing (AM), advanced composites, assembly and industry 4.0 processes to enable the high rate production of aircraft structures. The facility will also serve as a base for GKN Aerospace’s technology partnership in the Airbus ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ technology programme, as well as new additive manufacturing industrialisation programmes.
The Bristol centre joins a growing list of GKN Aerospace Centres of Technical Excellence around the world. Each centre has a unique technology focus, including AM, thermoplastics and smart aero-engine systems, all supported and linked by a digital strategy.
John Pritchard, CEO of GKN Aerospace ASEA, commented, “Our GTC is designed to support GKN Aerospace’s UK workforce and close collaboration with the world-class UK aerospace ecosystem, building on joint expertise, talent and infrastructure. A great example of the UK’s industrial strategy approach, the GTC will take aerospace innovation to the next level and ensure that UK aerospace industry will continue to operate at the forefront of global aerospace.”
In addition to the GKN Aerospace and Aerospace Technology Institute, collaboration partners at the GTC now include: the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Additive Industries B.V., ANSYS UK Limited, ATS Applied Tech Systems Limited, Axillium Research, Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd,Centre for Modelling & Simulation, Digital Catapult, Exechon Enterprises L.L.C., Frazer-Nash Consultancy Limited, KUKA Industries UK Limited, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Materialise UK Limited, National Composites Centre (NCC), PXL Realm Limited, Renishaw plc, Siemens Industry Software Limited, Thales UK Limited, Theta Technologies Ltd.,TriMas Aerospace, University of Bath, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Sheffield and University of the West of England.