GKN Aerospace, the world’s leading multi-technology tier 1 aerospace supplier, has strengthened its commitment to sustainable manufacturing by investing US $63 million (£50 million) in cutting-edge additive fabrication technology in Trollhättan, Sweden. The Swedish Energy Agency’s Industriklivet initiative will fund a portion of this investment, which will help to revolutionise production methods by reducing raw material usage by up to 80%.
The technology will be installed at GKN Aerospace’s Trollhättan facility in Sweden and will go into service later in 2024.
GKN Aerospace invests in Additive Fabrication Technology
Currently, aircraft engine components are made from large castings and forgings, with up to 80% of the material machined away before the final form is achieved. GKN Aerospace is able to reduce raw material waste, energy use, and shipping within production by utilising additive technology, which involves layer-by-layer construction using metal wire or powder fused together with lasers. This reduces emissions, costs, and lead time significantly.
For nearly two decades, GKN Aerospace has been at the forefront of additive fabrication technology, with significant research and technology centres in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The new additive manufacturing centre in Sweden is expected to create around 150 new job opportunities for operators, technicians, and engineers at the Trollhättan facility, thanks to the support of Industriklivet.
“We are committed to driving sustainability in the aviation industry and pioneering improved solutions for our customers. Our development of additive fabrication for large, complex and load-bearing aircraft components is a great example of this and it marks a significant breakthrough for the industry.”– Joakim Andersson, president of GKN Aerospace’s Engines business
Andersson added, “The benefits we see from this technology are truly game-changing. Government support has been pivotal in enabling us to push our capabilities forward and I am delighted to establish this unique technology in our world-leading facility in Trollhättan Sweden.”
Peter Engdahl, Head of Research, Innovation and Business Development at the Swedish Energy Agency said, “GKN Aerospace’s solution will be able to contribute to a reduced use of raw materials and create opportunities to fundamentally change the design, making the aircraft engine lighter and more efficient. This is the first time this technology is being tested for this component size and we see the potential for it to spread globally and also in other areas.”
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