GKN’s Global Technology Centre aims for accelerated adoption of digital technologies

GKN Aerospace has announced plans for a £32m Global Technology Centre (GTC), a facility aimed at accelerating the adoption of new digital technologies in aerospace manufacturing.

Artist’s impression of GKN’s new GTC, set to open in 2020

Located in Bristol and scheduled to open in 2020, the GTC represents a £17m commitment from GKN Aerospace and a £15m commitment by government through the Aerospace Technology Institute.

According to GKN, the 10,000 square metre facility will host 300 engineers, and will include collaborative space for research and development with universities, the UK’s CATAPULT network and GKN Aerospace’s UK supply chain.

Once open, the centre will focus on additive manufacturing (AM), advanced composites, assembly and industry 4.0 processes to enable the high rate production of aircraft structures. The facility will serve also as a base for GKN Aerospace’s technology partnership in the Airbus’ Wing of Tomorrow technology programme.

GTC’s collaborative partners include ANSYS UK, KUKA, the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Thales, and the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Sheffield.

“We look forward to deepening our partnership with GKN Aerospace and helping them develop new digital and additive manufacturing technologies for the aerospace sector,” said Prof Iain Todd, GKN/Royal Academy of Engineering Research chair in Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Structural Metallics at Sheffield University. “This agreement cements our long-term working relationships in this industry and will create many opportunities for students and graduates wanting to gain experience in the aerospace sector, as well as drive research within the Faculty of Engineering.”

Hans Büthker, chief executive of GKN Aerospace, added: “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. The GTC will continue to foster such collaboration across the entire UK Aerospace ecosystem and we look forward to working with the British government in the years to come.’’