The University of Nottingham is working on a major project which will bring new wing design, manufacturing and assembly technologies to market.
The University is partnering with GE Aviation in order to undertake research across a range of areas. This is a two year project which will research the assembly of ribs and fastening of composite panels leading to new technologies in sealants and other technologies. The project, which is worth £1.2m to The University of Nottingham, has been awarded funding by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK
The University of Nottingham project with GE is part of a larger research programme being led by GKN Aerospace . In total, 13 partners from across the UK will be working on the wing manufacturing research programme, backed by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).
Developing novel technologies
Known as VIEWS, (Validation and Integration of Manufacturing Enablers for Future Wing Structures), the programme will span manufacturing processes including wing design, manufacture and assembly, whilst also selecting some novel technologies for further development.
Four researchers at the University of Nottingham will be employed full-time in order to develop two demonstrator assembly cells, one on the development of ribs and the other on panel technology.
Speaking about the programme, Professor Svetan Ratchev, Professor of Production Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, who is leading The University of Nottingham project, said: “This programme is very important in terms of further enhancing our links with internationally leading aerospace manufacturers by building on our expertise in advanced manufacturing technologies. The results of the project will contribute to maintaining the competiveness of the UK aerospace sector and its future growth.
One of the largest aerospace research teams
“Here at Nottingham we have one of the largest academic teams for aerospace research in Europe, with over 250 academics delivering multi-disciplinary research and driving the development of cutting edge technologies which will radically improve all aspects of future air transport.”
VIEWS will progress technologies that have emerged from the recently completed STeM (Structures Technology Maturity) research programme. Also led by GKN Aerospace, STeM has identified processes that could reduce by 20% the cost of manufacture and assembly of a typical composite box structure.
Russ Dunn, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Technology, GKN Aerospace explains: “Through the Aerospace Technology Institute, the UK aerospace sector is able to work together effectively to develop promising technologies and processes that will help us maintain our position as the strongest national aerospace industry outside the USA.
Increasing quality, consistency and production speed
“STeM saw us make valuable progress and VIEWS will work from that base, taking us nearer to market readiness with a new generation of automated processes and technologies that will extend what we in the UK are able to manufacture, at the same time as increasing the quality, consistency and speed of production.”
For more information about aerospace research at The University of Nottingham, visit www.nottingham.ac.uk/aerospace
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World’s Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at the University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.
The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI)
The ATI is an independent institute established as a collaboration between Government and Industry to lead and challenge the UK’s Aerospace technology strategy and through £2 billion of secured R&T investment maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in world-leading capabilities, preserving high-value design and manufacturing jobs in the UK.
Within the ATI world-class industry experts and academics drive the UK’s intellectual leadership in whole aircraft, aerodynamics, propulsion, aerostructures and advanced systems. The ATI will strive to sustain and grow an internationally competitive Aerospace sector through investment in technologies consistent with commercial aircraft updates, new aircraft, the sector’s strengths and the added economic value to the UK.
Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency, accelerating economic growth. Innovate UK know that taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK fund, support and connect innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth.
Lead: GKN Aerospace
GE Aviation Systems
Spirit AeroSystems (Europe)
The National Composites Centre
The Manufacturing Technology Centre
The University of Sheffield
The University of Strathclyde
The University of Warwick
The University of Nottingham
Sheffield Hallam University
The University of Bath
The University of Bristol
GKN plc is a global engineering group. It has four divisions; GKN Aerospace, GKN Driveline, GKN Powder Metallurgy and GKN Land Systems, which operate in the aerospace, automotive and land systems markets. Nearly 50,000 people work in GKN companies and joint ventures in more than 30 countries. GKN is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: GKN) and recorded sales of GBP7.5 billion in the year to 31 December 2013.
GKN Aerospace is a global first tier supplier of airframe structures, engine components, transparencies and fuel/flotation systems, with sales of GBP2.2bn in 2013 and a global workforce approaching 12,000. It has a significant participation on all major aircraft programmes today an d a broad customer base spanning commercial, military, business aerospace and space markets. The company’s extensive engineering capability and clear focus on targeted innovation has created technological and manufacturing leads in each of its areas of expertise