CTAL, a joint venture established in 2008 between Rolls-Royce (London, U.K.) and GKN Aerospace (Isle of Wight, U.K.), opened a new facility on Jan. 12 to develop efficient, lightweight jet-engine technology using composites. The CTAL facility will house pilot manufacturing processes that will be used to realize composite fan blade and fan case designs.
CTAL’s £14.8 million ($23.3 million USD) investment will provide employment for 70 highly skilled engineers on the Isle of Wight and has been supported with £7.4 million ($11.6 million) in funding from the U.K. government. U.K. Business Minister Mark Prisk says, “The U.K. has the world’s largest aerospace industry outside the U.S., with a 17 percent share of the global market, which is worth approximately £23 billion [nearly $36.2 billion] per year to our nation’s economy. I am pleased to officially open this state-of-the-art facility and to see for myself the work of GKN Aerospace and Rolls-Royce in developing sustainable aviation technologies that will have benefits for marine, health, construction and energy sectors.”
Marcus Bryson, CEO and president of GKN Aerospace and GKN Land Systems, adds, “The processes we develop here will be at the heart of the drive to improve the performance of tomorrow’s aircraft engines. This facility will help us ensure we and our supply chain sustain the level of technological progress necessary to meet major global aero-engine opportunities in the future.” Colin Smith, Rolls-Royce’s director of engineering, says his company maintains a long-term commitment to R&D: “This state-of-the-art facility gives us an opportunity to develop world-leading composite technology and manufacturing techniques. These high-technology, lightweight components have the potential to significantly improve the competitiveness of our engines and, hence, reduce the fuel consumption and emissions of future aircraft.”