October 31, 2014
GKN Aerospace celebrates growth of UK’s National Composites Centre
GKN Aerospace joins tier one industry partners Airbus, AgustaWestland, GE, Rolls-Royce, Cytec and Vestas to celebrate the official opening of the second phase of the UK’s highly successful National Composites Centre (NCC). Established just three years ago, the NCC is already at the heart of the UK’s fast-growing expertise in the design and rapid manufacture of composites – a key focus of the UK government’s long term industrial strategy. The new building will greatly increase the NCC’s total floor area, extending valuable accommodation for teams from collaborating organisations and academia. It also increases the scope and diversity of the state-of-the-art equipment based on site which is helping prove faster, more effective production techniques for composite structures.
Ian Chatting, Vice President, Technology, GKN Aerospace comments: The NCC is proving a highly effective ‘catapult centre’ for the UK aerospace sector. This new facility will extend the support it can offer us, speeding our progress towards proving new technologies and processes that will ensure the UK remains successful in the growing, but ever-more competitive, global aerospace market.” Since the opening of the NCC, GKN Aerospace has used the centre’s facilities to support both short and long term development activities. GKN Aerospace has a team of thirty technologists and engineers based at the NCC working with industrial partners and NCC colleagues on a number of strategically important projects and there have already been successes. The company has used the NCC’s automated fibre placement technology in the manufacture of an innovative winglet design that is lighter, has fewer parts and will be 20% cheaper to manufacture than current production winglets. Vital structural analysis techniques that were evolved within NCC-based projects are in use in producing large, flight-critical wing structures at one of the company’s UK sites. Simultaneously, longer term collaborative projects are now based at the NCC and are exploring ‘natural laminar flow’ flight which will lead to new, ultra-efficient wing designs for future aircraft.