GKN Aerospace reports it has invested £50 million to boost its Additive Manufacturing capabilities at its site in Trollhättan, Sweden. Set to be operational later in 2024, the new facility is expected to deliver more sustainable aero-engine components by significantly reducing the use of raw materials by up to 80%.
The Swedish Energy Agency’s Industriklivet initiative will fund £12 million of this investment, with the new AM production centre projected to create around 150 new job opportunities for highly skilled operators, technicians, and engineers at the Trollhättan facility.
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Currently, aircraft engine components rely on large castings and forgings, with as much as 80% of the material machined away before reaching the final form. By employing Additive Manufacturing technology, GKN Aerospace is able to minimise raw material waste, energy use and shipping within production. This significantly cuts emissions, costs and lead time.
With research and technology centres in Sweden, the UK and the US, GKN Aerospace has been utilising Additive Manufacturing for almost two decades. The company reports it currently has AM components on seven flying platforms.
“We are committed to driving sustainability in the aviation industry and pioneering improved solutions for our customers,” stated Joakim Andersson, president of GKN Aerospace’s Engines business. “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 added, “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.”