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GKN Aerospace to open £32M Global Technology Centre in Bristol in 2020

The upcoming facility will be focused on additive manufacturing, advanced composites and industry 4.0

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GKN Aerospace has announced its plans to open a new Global Technology Centre (GTC) in the UK in 2020. The new centre will reportedly span 10,000 square meters and will focus largely on additive manufacturing, advanced composites, assembly and industry 4.0 processes with the goal of enhancing high rate production of aircraft parts.

News of the new centre was revealed today by Greg Clark, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Hans Büthker, the Chief Executive of GKN Aerospace. The pair highlighted that the upcoming facility will employ 300 highly skilled engineers and will house spaces dedicated for collaborative R&D projects with universities, the UK’s CATAPULT network and GKN Aerospace’s UK-based supply chain.

To be based in Bristol, the new £32 million GTC will also bring on Additive Industries as a partner. The Dutch metal 3D printing company says it will collaborate with GKN Aerospace for its additive manufacturing programs from the Process & Application Development Centre.

“Additive Industries is proud to be part of GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre ecosystem and is committed to collaborate with all partners involved to accelerate industrialisation of aerospace applications in additive manufacturing,” commented Daan A.J. Kersten, CEO of Additive Industries. “GKN Aerospace is a leading partner in this challenging and fast growing market.”

GKN Aerospace Global Technology Centre 2020
Additive Industries’ MetalFAB1 3D printer

The new GTC will join GKN Aerospace’s other Centres of Technical Excellence around the world. As mentioned, the Bristol-based facility will focus its efforts on additive manufacturing, advanced composites and other industry 4.0 processes for the production of aircraft parts. More specifically, GKN Aerospace says the centre will be the base of the “Wing of Tomorrow” technology program (in collaboration with Airbus) as well as the AM-based programs with Additive Industries.

“GKN Aerospace can trace its engineering heritage back to the 18th century and we are proud of our role as a leading player in the UK’s world leading aerospace sector,” said Hans Büthker. “The GTC will ensure we continue to develop new technologies that deliver for our customers, making aircraft more sustainable and economical. It will also support our 4,000 strong workforce in the UK, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of the global aerospace industry. The GTC is a great example of the UK’s industrial strategy at its best: with industry and the Government coming together to invest in the technology of the future.’’

Dr. Mark Beard, Additive Industries Global Director for Process and Application Development added:  “The GTC is a perfect example of the UK’s commitment to Additive Manufacturing and this further strengthens Additive Industries presence in such an important region. The GTC compliments the Additive Industries Competence Centre in the UK, which is the global centre for early stage processes development for the company.”

At Formnext last month, Additive Industries revealed other aspects of its development plan for 2018-2022. Presently, the company has operations its Eindhoven, Bristol, California and Singapore. Its presence in Bristol was undoubtedly a draw for partnering with GKN Aerospace at its upcoming GTC.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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