University partnership with ITP Aero receives £1.5 million funding boost

Thursday, 01 February 2024

The University of Nottingham, Manufacturing Technology Centre and ITP Aero are celebrating after being awarded £1.5m in Government funding to support a three-year Laser Welding research and development project.

The three-year project, known as LADDER (Laser Automation and Design Development for future Engine Requirements), will see a total investment of £2.59m, both from ITP Aero itself and the Government’s Innovation Funding Service. This significant milestone reflects a shared commitment to investing in technology across the East Midlands.

Also a research partner on the project is the Manufacturing and Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. Together with the university and ITP, they will bring world-class expertise to the project, with the aim of developing and implementing an innovative laser beam welding (LBW) solution, as a robust joining technology for complex sheet-metal aeroengine fabrications.

The use of laser beam welding produces narrow welds with a small heat-affected zone, at high production rates. The highly repeatable process offering low-distortion will be used in the short term to reduce the costs associated with non-conformance. In the longer term, it is recognised that stringent new emissions targets will necessitate further increases in engine temperatures, meaning higher performance and more complex products will be needed. Design specifically for LBW will enable increased functional capability to be achieved on a range of commodities, while at the same time increasing integrity and cost competitiveness.

Rob Mitchell, Head of Engineering for ITP Aero UK said: “This is a real milestone for us in ITP Aero UK. We are a young company in the UK, but a site with a huge amount of aerospace heritage. This is our first stand-alone project where we have sought and secured Government funding and underlines our commitment to invest in the UK in line with our research priorities. I am delighted we are able to work closely with our partners in the MTC and University of Nottingham to develop this industry leading capability in the UK.”

This is an exciting opportunity to work with a company with a growing presence in the aerospace sector in the UK and globally.
Professor Chris Bennett, Director of the Institute for Aerospace Technology at UoN

Professor Bennett continued: “This project builds on existing strengths and a history at Nottingham in the field of welding modelling, while being at the cutting edge of Aerospace manufacture and allowing us to consider some of the challenges associated with the production of real components.”

Matthew Kite, Director of Power and Energy, Industrial Sector at the MTC, said: “After a long association with ITP Aero’s Hucknall site, it is a real pleasure to accompany them on the next stage of their new journey, whilst also having the opportunity to work closely with the University of Nottingham, one of our founding partners."

With our extensive experience in laser-based collaborative projects in the Aerospace sector, combined with ITP Aero’s commitment to the adoption of new technologies in this area, we have a real opportunity to boost the UK’s expertise.
Matthew Kite

Story credits

More information is available from Danielle Hall, Media Relations Manager at the University of Nottingham, at or 0115 846 7156.

Danielle Hall - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Engineering
Phone: 0115 846 7156

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

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