The GKN Aerospace (Redditch, Worcestershire, U.K.)-led G5Demo project, part of the Swedish Green Aerospace Demonstrator program, is to receive €2 million in funding from Vinnova, the Swedish governmental agency for innovative systems based in Stockholm.
This funding will be matched by an equivalent investment from GKN Aerospace and will be provided over a two-year period to support an increase in the scope of G5Demo activity. The Green Aerospace Demonstrator program encourages the participation of Swedish industry and research establishments in international new technology demonstrator programs such as Clean Sky (European research project for introduction of new, radically greener Air Transport products) and Sesar (Single European Sky ATM Research to to develop a modernized air traffic management system for Europe). A particular goal is to increase the small and medium-sized company/organization participation.
G5Demo is an engine demonstrator program focused on progressing technologies that will cut aero-engine CO2-emissions by 50 percent by 2020. Two Swedish aerospace manufacturing technology centers are being supported: The manufacturing technology center at Innovatum, Trollhättan, which focuses on metals; and Linköping-based COMPRASER, which focuses on composites.
GKN Aerospace's contribution will be to introduce innovative manufacturing technologies and advanced materials to G5Demo, allowing the creation of light-weight, state-of-the-art engine structures that can then be validated in the full-sized aero-engines that form the project demonstrators. Through this project GKN Aerospace will be supporting Swedish universities, research centers and small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs), introducing them to international collaboration and working with them to progress and assess a variety of new technologies and processes.
Engine parts that are being developed through G5Demo include:
- A 15 percent lighter turbine structure for high-temperature environments
- A composite/metal hybrid fan frame that is 30 percent lighter than current frames
- Rotating frames for 'open rotor' engines
- Compressor structures manufactured using 3-D printing.
Technologies and materials that are being progressed include:
- Novel welding technologies
- Non-destructive testing (NDT)
- Automated composite manufacturing
- Innovative sheet metal forming
- New high-temperature alloys
- Acoustic panels for use at high temperature
GKN acquired Volvo Aero (Trollhättan, Sweden) in 2012 and was scheduled to complete integration by year-end 2013, becoming GKN Aerospace Engine Systems. A second Swedish facility is GKN Aerospace Applied Composites AB (ACAB) in Linköping — with approximately 70 employees and annual turnover of 130,000 Swedish Krona (SEK) or $20 million U.S. — which produces a wide range of products, from filament wound drive shafts, pressure vessels and missile components to resin transfer molded (RTMd) below-deck missile exhaust channels for Visby corvettes (73m/240-ft stealth Swedish Navy ships) to aerospace engine and structural components.