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GKN Aerospace invests £50 million additive fabrication capability

To establish a world-leading and sustainable Centre of Excellence in Sweden for aero components

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GKN Aerospace has boosted its commitment to sustainable manufacturing, with a £50 million (600 million SEK) investment in its cutting-edge additive fabrication technology in Trollhättan, Sweden. The Swedish Energy Agency’s Industriklivet initiative will fund £12 million (152 million SEK) of this investment, which will help to revolutionize production methods by reducing raw material usage by up to 80%. The technology will be embedded at GKN Aerospace’s Trollhättan facility in Sweden and will be operational later in 2024.

Joakim Andersson, president of GKN Aerospace’s Engines business, said: “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. 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.”

Currently, aircraft engine components rely on large castings and forgings, with up to 80% of the material machined away before reaching the final form. By employing additive technology, which involves layer-by-layer construction using metal wire or powder fused with lasers, GKN Aerospace can minimize raw material waste, energy use and shipping within production. This significantly cuts emissions, costs and lead time.

GKN Aerospace has been at the forefront of additive fabrication for almost two decades and has significant research and technology centers in Sweden, the UK and the US. Thanks to the backing from Industriklivet, the new additive production center in Sweden is projected to create around 150 new job opportunities for operators, technicians, and engineers at the Trollhättan facility.

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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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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