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September 2005 edition

GKN Aerospace opens Advanced Composites Centre

GKN Aerospace has opened an Advanced Composites Centre in Cowes, in the Isle of Wight (UK), to develop protectable technology for composites other than resin transfer mouldings and incorporate a new manufacturing operation to produce composite spars for the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. Group technical director Phil Grainger shares the challenges of setting up new premises and explains how GKN found help from an unexpected source.

“Our composites centre for manufacturing is probably one of the most advanced in the world,” says Phil Grainger, group technical director at GKN Aerospace.

The new 8,500 square metre Advanced Composites Centre at Cowes in the Isle of Wight (UK), was completed in June of this year. It will be used to develop protectable technology for composites other than resin transfer mouldings and will incorporate a new manufacturing operation to produce composite spars for the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. It will also focus on evolving methods to further the automation of the composite manufacturing process. GKN is also progressing quickly with tools and techniques for making very large parts without using autoclaves and with advanced forming techniques. The company is using new devices in its products, which if patentable, would be protectable through the courts.

Two of the largest projects at the new plant are collaborative research programmes part-funded by the European Union (EU); on....

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