UK plans EUR 93 mn composites R&D centre / Boeing first project partner
The UK has announced plans to establish a new composites R&D facility for the aerospace sector, with US aircraft giant Boeing (Chicago, Illinois; www.boeing.com) as a first partner. 

The University of Sheffield’s (Sheffield, UK; www.sheffield.ac.uk) Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC; www.amrc.co.uk) has secured the GBP 80 mn (EUR 93 mn) to establish the Composites at Speed and Scale (Compass) facility at its site in Sheffield. Compass will be built as an extension to its existing advanced manufacturing research centre, Factory 2050.

The research programme with Boeing is the AMRC’s largest-ever R&D project and builds on a relationship between the university and aviation group that spans more than 20 years. Boeing, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial aircraft, opened its first European manufacturing facility in Sheffield in 2018. 

Related: Supercar manufacturer McLaren opens composites centre in Sheffield

Making passenger jets lighter is seen as one of the biggest ways to reduce the environmental impact of air travel and help the aviation industry to reach net-zero. However, says the university, current manufacturing processes for composite components are both time consuming and inconsistent. 

Compass aims to build on the AMRC’s capabilities to de-risk the development and manufacture of high-rate, large-scale composite parts for aerostructures, such as for the fuselage, wings, and stabilisers, helping to meet demand for commercial aircraft worldwide, which is projected to be in excess of 40,000 planes over the next 20 years. 

“Compass will help to establish South Yorkshire as the leading R&D centre of excellence in the manufacture of composites at speed and at scale, enabling future production capabilities that currently don’t exist. This facility, alongside our existing pedigree and the work on hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels in the wider University of Sheffield, are cornerstones of a future green aerospace cluster in the region,” says Steve Foxley, CEO of the AMRC. 

Maria Laine, president of Boeing UK, Ireland, and Nordic region adds that the project is “poised to revolutionise aerospace manufacturing to meet global demand, while supporting vital jobs and growth in the UK.”

A timescale for the project and scheduled start-up date were not given, but the facility will initially create about 50 jobs in South Yorkshire, with potential for 3,000 jobs by the mid-2030s. It would be worth about GBP 2 bn annually to the UK economy in exports.

South Yorkshire is the UK’s first Investment Zone to be announced by the government. 
01.08.2023 Plasteurope.com [253349-0]
Published on 01.08.2023
Composites: Briten planen Forschungszentrum in SheffieldGerman version of this article...

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