GKN Aerospace has become a tier one member of the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).
The company joins other major UK-based aerospace manufacturers, including Airbus and Rolls-Royce, as a high level member of the centre - which has been founded in direct response to the UK government’s national manufacturing strategy.
The goal of the MTC is “to prove innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile environment, in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions.”
As one of the leading producers of complex, exotic metal and composite structures for the aerospace sector globally, GKN Aerospace views the MTC as a valuable means of strengthening and informing its research into novel automated assembly technologies.
Rich Oldfield, Director of Technology, GKN Aerospace comments: “The MTC will function as a valuable focal point for UK industry as we explore new automation techniques and technologies. It will enable members to draw on expertise from across many UK manufacturing sectors and from academia.”
Oldfield continues: “For the UK’s aerospace sector - globally the strongest national aerospace capability after the USA - the MTC will provide support as we work together to extend our share of a growing and dynamic international civil aerospace market. To achieve our goals we must be able consistently to deliver aircraft structures that are lighter, quieter, swifter to manufacture and less wasteful of raw material than our competitors internationally. Effective automation throughout manufacturing and assembly is key to this.”
GKN Aerospace is involved in a number of core MTC projects addressing issues such as robotics, advanced tooling, near net shape technologies and advanced metrology. In one example, the MTC is conducting advanced metrology trials, studying novel optical techniques, using a wing rib manufactured at GKN Aerospace - Filton. The techniques being studied have the potential to significantly reduce the costs and time associated with the vital task of measuring complex aerostructures to ensure they meet demanding tolerances specified.