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The new Laser Cutting Machine for sheet steel and titanium, based at GKN Aerospace in Yeovil, is helping significantly reduce hard metal fast track turn times

GKN Aerospace team commits to 50% reduction in urgent part lead times and increases range of capabilities

Working closely with AgustaWestland, GKN Aerospace's Yeovil operation has commited to halve the average turn-around-times for urgent parts, assisting AgustaWestland's ability to respond swiftly to critical customer requirements.

Garry Perks, AgustaWestland Head of Procurement Contracts, comments: "The agreement we have reached with GKN Aerospace supports our commitment to providing a highly responsive service to our customers."

Frank Bamford, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy, GKN Aerospace comments: "We have been working in partnership with AgustaWestland supporting their aircraft development and customer support activities with urgent parts since 2005. This is a valuable and successful business operation that has been achieving impressive turn-around-times. To speed this service even further we used GKN's lean manufacturing tools to analyse every step in our process, from design to estimating, planning to shop floor manufacture."

Implementing GKN's lean manufacturing tools caused a number of activities to be streamlined or removed from the process. A new costing model has been agreed with AgustaWestland, new equipment has been installed to speed some procedures and basic logistical changes have been made to areas such as equipment racking and the visual indicator system.

The result is lead times that are now 50% of the previous average. In many cases this means only 10 days from receipt of orders - which can be for replacement of development parts with little or no definition or tooling.

As part of this drive to continuously improve the value GKN Aerospace delivers to its customers, GKN Aerospace in Yeovil is also introducing new state of the art laser technology cutting and deburring equipment to enable the operation to manufacture titanium and stainless steel parts, complementing its existing aluminium processing capability.

Bamford continues: "To provide a truly flexible fast-track service to our customers and offer an effective one stop shop for metallics, we must be vertically integrated as far as is practical - able to control a wide range of manufacturing processes locally. This new equipment will enable us to offer a full range of metal repairs covered by a complete suite of approvals, including NADCAP."

Press release issued by GKN Aerospace on October 20, 2008


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