The University of Birmingham is delighted to announce its collaboration with GKN Aerospace, the original aerospace innovator, and its new UK Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Bristol. The creation of this world-class Technology Centre is critical to enabling the development of strategic technologies and core manufacturing competencies for GKN Aerospace, its UK supply chain and ecosystem. 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 University of Birmingham will be contributing its additive manufacturing and modelling expertise to the collaboration. With over 30 years’ experience in dealing with powder metallurgy, net-shape and AM technologies, the University’s interdisciplinary research centre in Materials Processing is a centre of excellence for laser power bed Additive Manufacturing in the UK.

Moataz Attallah, Professor of Advanced Materials Processing and the University’s lead academic on the collaboration, said:

“This is an exciting opportunity for UoB to engage with GKN Aerospace, the largest tier-1 aerospace supplier, and GKN Additive which has been at the forefront of applying additive manufacturing technologies in the aerospace sector. The partnership will enable us to work closely with GKN to address the materials related challenges in order to accelerate the adoption and maturation of additive manufacturing technologies. I expect this engagement will provide an excellent opportunity for our researchers and students to work together with GKN aerospace.”

In the first half of 2019 GKN Aerospace broke ground on a 10,000 square metre UK Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Bristol. Funded by a £17m commitment from GKN Aerospace and £15m commitment from the UK Government through the ATI Programme, it is expected to open in 2020. It is GKN Aerospace’s largest UK technology investment to date. It was announced in December 2018 as part of a record annual technology spend of £75m for GKN Aerospace and alongside the UK government’s Aerospace Sector Deal.

The concept of an inclusive environment to foster innovation and technical skills development is proving to be successful with universities, the UK’s CATAPULT network, GKN Aerospace’s UK supply chain, start-ups as well as large industrial companies joining GKN Aerospace prior to the actual opening. The GTC will maintain GKN Aerospace’s position at the forefront of technology development for the next generation of energy efficient aircraft. The facility will 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.

Commenting CEO of GKN Aerospace ASEA, John Pritchard said:

“We are proud to have taken the next step in the UK GTC development with our groundbreaking in April and we are excited that so many partners have joined us. 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 GKN Aerospace and Aerospace Technology Institute, the 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 Bristol, University of Sheffield and University of the West of England.