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27th April 2018, Sheffield

AMRC and GKN focus on automation

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is entering into a long-term partnership global aviation supplier GKN Aerospace to develop advanced technologies for the aerospace industry.

The AMRC works closely with global leaders in the aerospace industry to develop innovative technology, manufacturing methods and techniques.

Paul Perera of GKN and Colin Sirett of the AMRC sign the agreement. Also in the pictures is Joe Coltham of GKN and the AMRC’s Ben Fisher. © AMRC

It has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GKN Aerospace to progress a series of research themes they are developing together at the AMRC’s state-of-the-art Factory 2050, the new £43 million collaborative research factory which is home to the Integrated Manufacturing Group.

GKN Aerospace is a strategic supplier to Airbus, Boeing and other leading aircraft manufacturers, and plays a critical role in the UK aerospace industry.

It has been a member of the AMRC for a number of years and Colin Sirett, AMRC CEO, said the MoU not only reflects the strategic nature of the relationship between the two organisations but that will bring significant benefits to both sides.

“The purpose of signing the MoU is to recognise the strategic role the AMRC is playing and to drive forward the significant amount of work and technological development we are embarking on with GKN Aerospace,” he said. “What we will be looking at in a package of work with them is future manufacturing systems and digital linkage of those systems with the customer and the development of metallic machining technology.

“The AMRC will also have a core role in developing the Wing of Tomorrow technology with GKN Aerospace. This technology will be large scale assembly, metal materials machining and opportunities for castings. The plus point of the MoU for us is it enables us to operate very closely and effectively with companies that view the AMRC as one of their strategic partners.”

As a global leader in manufacturing aerostructures, engine systems and specialist aerospace technologies, GKN works closely with universities, knowledge institutes, suppliers and customers to lead the industry in developing new technology to improve aircraft efficiency – lowering aircraft cost, weight and emissions.

It serves more than 90% of the world’s aircraft and engine manufacturers and its technologies are used in aircraft ranging from single aisle aircraft and the largest passenger planes in the world to business jets and advanced fighter aircraft.

Paul Perera, VP Global Technology at GKN Aerospace, said the partnership will build on the collaborative research already underway between the two organisations. As part of the agreement, Robert Sharman, the global Head of Additive Manufacturing at GKN Aerospace, will work with the AMRC’s additive manufacturing research team as an associate professor.

“The MOU has been created between us to progress a number of joint themes which we have incubated here together,” said Perera. “These are the application of digital manufacturing and the application of large scale additive manufacturing, and we have also been looking at large scale automation with the ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ project. It is a good partnership with true benefits on both sides. We really want to maintain the momentum on this agreement.”

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