GKN Aerospace invests £50mn in additive fabrication capability

GKN Aerospace is investing £50 million (SEK600 million) in cutting-edge additive fabrication technology in Trollhättan, Sweden.

The company will establish a Centre of Excellence in Trollhättan, accelerating and scaling-up production. GKN Aerospace’s new additive production centre will deliver more sustainable aero-engine components by reducing the use of raw materials in production by up to 80%. The technology will be operational later this year.

The Swedish Energy Agency’s Industriklivet initiative will fund £12 million (SEK152 million) of the investment.

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 together with lasers, GKN Aerospace is able to minimise raw material waste, energy use and shipping within production.

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."

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.”