The UK government will be funding five innovative aerospace projects through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme with the aim of improving manufacturing within the industry. Engineering technologies company, Renishaw, headquartered in Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, UK, is leading the Large Scale Additive Manufacturing for Defence and Aerospace (LAMDA) project.
Grant winners – chosen by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Innovate UK, and the Aerospace Technology Institute – will receive a portion of the £88.7 million, with £44.1 million from the government and £44.6 million from the industry. The funding has the potential to secure 1,400 jobs across the country and will invest in state-of-the-art technology, said to be crucial in helping the industry bounce back after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The LAMDA project will receive a £26.4 million investment over four years, including a £13.2 million government grant. Renishaw and project partners will use the funds to develop a new Additive Manufacturing machine able to build large aerospace components while still being suitable for the mass production of smaller parts. This would give aerospace manufacturers the ability to deliver higher production rates at reduced costs. Manufacturers will also be able to exploit the superior material properties and design capabilities of AM to produce smaller, lighter components that will contribute to net-zero aviation.
“This is an exciting project which, if successful, will help realise the huge potential of Additive Manufacturing for the aerospace sector in terms of the efficiency and reduced environmental impact of future aircraft,” stated Andy Robinson, Director of Additive Manufacturing at Renishaw. “By making AM viable for both the quality and economics of large-scale manufacture, a far greater proportion of aircraft components and systems will benefit from the weight-savings, size reductions and performance enhancements that AM offers manufacturers.”
The aerospace industry is reported to have an important role to play in achieving the UK government’s net-zero commitment, with further initiatives also in place to support the industry including £125 million in government grants, matched by industry, through the Future Flight Challenge, for companies to invest in future aviation systems; the establishment of the Jet Zero Council to find innovative ways to cut aviation emissions; and funding for FlyZero- a research project that brings together experts to determine the future viability of zero-emission commercial aircraft.
“This multi-million-pound cash injection will safeguard vital jobs and support the aerospace sector as it builds back stronger after the pandemic,” added Paul Scully, the UK Government’s Minister for Business. “Manufacturing is at the very heart of UK industry, and innovative processes will ensure that the UK is at the forefront of global efforts as we develop technology that can power a green aviation revolution.”