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GKN leads UK collaboration in composite technology
Thursday, 18 March 2021
Through a three-year commitment, the ASCEND partnership, backed by the UK government, will bring together expertise, capabilities and resources from across the wider UK aerospace and automotive supply chain.

GKN Aerospace is leading a new UK industry consortium called ASCEND (Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development) to develop and accelerate composite material and process technologies for the next generation of energy efficient aircraft and future mobility.

The £40m consortium, funded by a £20.0M commitment from industry and a £19.6M commitment from the UK Government via ATI, will focus on greater adoption of composite technologies today, the industrialisation of new technologies, as well as accelerating aerospace production rates to meet future high-volume requirements. The collaboration will help develop technologies from across the UK supply-chain to develop the advanced materials and automation equipment required to manufacture lightweight structures for the sustainable air mobility, aerospace and automotive industry.

Assyst Bullmer, Airborne, Cobham Mission Systems Wimborne, Cygnet Texkimp, Des Composites, FAR-UK Ltd, Hexcel Composites, Hive Composites, LMAT, Loop Technology, McLaren Automotive, the National Composites Centre, Rafinex, Sigmatex (UK) and Solvay Composite Materials will join GKN Aerospace in the consortium with collaboration and investment support from Axillium Research. Through a three-year commitment, the partnership, backed by the UK government, will bring together expertise, capabilities and resources from across the wider UK aerospace and automotive supply chain. In doing so, ASCEND will strengthen the UK's position as a technology leader in future lightweight structures and help to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions in the aerospace and automotive industry.

The consortium will be led from GKN Aerospace's £32M Global Technology Centre in Bristol and will support up to 130 jobs through 2023/24. GKN Aerospace will use its long-term experience and in-depth knowledge of composite engineering for integrated airframe structures throughout the project.

John Pritchard, President Civil Airframe GKN Aerospace says: "GKN Aerospace has deep knowledge and expertise in composite technology and we are proud to lead this consortium. Accelerating the next-generation of lightweight, cost effective advanced composite technologies is critical for the aerospace and automotive industry and its move to more energy-efficient aircraft and vehicles. Ensuring we can not only develop these technologies, but also manufacture them at high-rate across the UK supply chain, will maintain our position as an industry leader and underpin our commitment to sustainability. Combined with the Aerospace Technology Institute, which is providing vital support for the UK's position on the next generation of aircraft, we will be able to deliver breakthroughs in technology as well as benchmark levels of price, quality and repeatability."

Contact details from our directory:
GKN Aerospace
GKN Aerospace - Filton Additive Manufacturing, Aircraft Structural Components, Fuselage Sections, Wing Flaps, Wing Spars, Wings
Assyst Bullmer Ltd Cutting Equipment, Cutting Tools
Cobham Mission Systems Division Air Refuelling Systems, Fuel Tanks & Systems, Refueling Equipment, Stores Management Systems, Testing Services
Cygnet Texkimp Limited Machine Tools, Machining Services, Machining Systems
Far-UK Ltd Carbon-reinforced Composites, Composite Manufacturing Services, Composite Structures
Hexcel Composites (UK) Carbon-reinforced Composites, Composite Adhesive, Honeycomb Core Composites, Prepreg
Hive Composites Ltd Composite Design Consultants, Composite Manufacturing Services, Composite Structures
LMAT ltd Composite Design Consultants, Composite Manufacturing Services, Computer-aided Simulation, Simulation Services
Loop Technology Plant Automation Equipment, Robotics & Automation Consultants
NCC National Composites Centre Composite Design Consultants, Composite Manufacturing Services, Composite Testing Services, Research/Consulting Services, Trade Organisations
Sigmatex (UK) Ltd. Aramid-reinforced Composites, Carbon-reinforced Composites, Composite Braiding/Weaving, Polyamide-reinforced Composites, Polymer Composites
Solvay Aramid-reinforced Composites, Carbon-reinforced Composites, Composite Adhesive, Composite Design Consultants, Composite Manufacturing Services, Composite Manufacturing Supplies, Composite Moulding, Epoxy Resins, Fibreglass, Mandrels, Mould Release Agents, Prepreg, Resins, Tooling, Vacuum Equipment
Airborne Aircraft Structural Components, Carbon-reinforced Composites, Composite Manufacturing Services, Composite Sandwich Panels, Composite Structures, Composite Tape Lay-down, Laminating Equipment, Plant Automation Equipment, Subcontracted Composite Parts
Rafinex Computer Analysers, Computer-aided Analysis
ATI Aerospace Technology Institute Research/Consulting Services, Technical/Eng/Scientific Studies