UK-based GKN Aerospace has opened a new engineering and technology center at its site at Filton, near Bristol, as part of an ongoing program to add to its global engineering capability. The center, GKN’s fourth, will focus on future wing structure design and manufacture.
The opening in late April of GKN Aerospace’s manufacturing and assembly facility for composite wing structures at Bristol in the UK represents a $270 million investment that the company believes will see it significantly boost its presence in this sector over the next 30 to 40 years. The new 333,000-sq-ft facility is primarily dedicated to making wing spars for the new Airbus A350XWB airliner, but it is also producing spares for the A400M military transport.
Last month’s breakthrough in winning a contract to supply Boeing with complex machined titanium and aluminum parts and assemblies for the horizontal stabilizer of the new 787-9 Dreamliner widebody is the prime example of GKN Aerospace’s recent success in keeping its backlog buoyant.
The April 27 opening of GKN Aerospace’s new manufacturing and assembly facility for composite wing structures at Bristol in the UK represents a £170 million ($270 million) investment that the company believes will see it significantly boost its presence in the sector over the next 30 to 40 years.
Aerostructures specialist GKN (Booth No. C7127) is looking to leverage its expertise in commercial airliner technology to break further ground in the business aviation world. The UK-based group is promising breakthroughs that could shave hundreds of valuable pounds off aircraft structural and system weights.
Dassault Aviation has awarded GKN Aerospace a life-of-program contract to design and build the wing movable surfaces for its next-generation, super mid-sized (SMS) business jet. It is one of the first major system supplier selections to be announced for the long-anticipated program. The work likely will be done at GKN’s Filton operation in the UK, which to date has focused mainly on wing production for Airbus.
Even during the most unsettling periods of the recent economic downturn, GKN Aerospace continued to invest heavily in being at aerospace’s technological leading edge. Prime evidence of this is its leadership role in the establishment of the UK’s new National Composites Centre, where work is due to start this summer.
When GKN Aerospace CEO Marcus Bryson gets bullish about market conditions it is probably worth paying attention. He was quick to identify the full extent of the downturn triggered by the global financial crisis and has generally erred more toward the “glass-half-empty” view than seeing the glass as being half full.
GKN has selected Germany’s Brötje Aerospace to supply an advanced moving line assembly system that will mate wing trailing edge and main landing gear parts onto Airbus A350XWB all-composite rear wing spars.
The Eurojet EJ200 that powers the Eurofighter achieved a milestone earlier this month when the first engine to be completed to the full operational clearance standard surpassed 1,000 on-wing hours. Engine number EN1030 was built by Rolls-Royce at Filton and was delivered to the UK Royal Air Force in 2003. It has subsequently flown in two Typhoon aircraft stationed at RAF Coningsby without the need for any unscheduled maintenance.