GKN Aerospace (Isle of Wight, U.K.) announced on Nov. 26 that it has joined tier one industry partners Vestas Wind Systems AS (Randers, Denmark), Airbus (Toulouse, France) and Rolls-Royce Group plc (London, U.K.) to establish U.K.'s new National Composites Centre (NCC) to be based in the southwest of England.
Marcus Bryson, CEO of GKN Aerospace, stated, "We were a founding member of the U.K.'s National Composites Network, launched in 2005 and are fully committed to the Government's National Composites Strategy. This new center in the South West will be a key facility in enabling U.K. manufacturing as a whole to develop new composite material applications and to extend our expertise in an area that is a critical U.K. manufacturing skill for the future."
Many of the new techniques developed recently are already being implemented in the new automated production facility now being created at GKN's Filton West site in Bristol, and due to be operational in 2010. Filton, acquired from Airbus in January 2009, is to be developed as GKN Aerospace's global center of excellence in aerostructures offering state-of-the-art composite manufacture and assembly with faster turn-around times and greater consistency and quality than has been achievable to date.
Bryson continued: "The new NCC will be of critical support as we push ahead with our research and development work, helping us and our team of suppliers extend the U.K.'s involvement in the growing global aerospace market over the next 30 to 40 years."
Created by the South West RDA, Bristol University and the industrial partners, the NCC will be a purpose-built 6,000-sq-m/64,600-sq-ft facility with workshop space, open-plan offices, meeting rooms and teaching facilities. Expected to be fully operational by April 2011, it will be an independent open-access national center delivering world-class innovation in the design and rapid manufacture of composites and enabling widespread industrial exploitation.