GKN Aerospace pushing boundaries of industrialised additive manufacturing through new research programmes

Gkn Amc Image 3
New £33M Additive Manufacturing (AM) research programmes AIRLIFT and DAM to inject new technology and accelerate AM industrialisation.

University of Sheffield, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Autodesk, Siemens Digital Industries Software and CFMS partner with GKN Aerospace.

GKN Aerospace is to lead two ground-breaking collaborative additive manufacturing (AM) research programmes, AIRLIFT and DAM and will inject its unique Laser Metal Deposition by wire (LMD-w) AM technology in the programmes. AIRLIFT and DAM are focused on making AM serial production ready at high rates and exploring how AM can revolutionise product design for high value, high complexity product manufacture. The aim is to accelerate industrialisation and increase GKN Aerospace’s market share in the growing global AM market.

Being a global leader in AM with AM components on seven flying platforms, DAM and AIRLIFT build on GKN Aerospace’s global AM expertise and infrastructure as well as on previous successful ATI programmes. Innovative simulation solutions, Industry 4.0 processes and new design tools and methods add real value to aerospace customers by speeding up and customising product design and development, while maintaining the best possible quality.

AIRLIFT (Additive Industrialisation for Future Technology) is a £19M technology industrialisation programme that uses Industry 4.0 and simulation competencies to enhance both laser metal deposition with wire (LMD-w) and powder bed AM technologies.

DAM (Developing Design for Additive Manufacturing) is a £14M programme aimed at developing the next generation of design tools and methods for additive manufacturing using a data driven, material centric approach. 

AIRLIFT and DAM are jointly supported by GKN Aerospace, ATI Programme, Autodesk and Siemens Digital Industries Software and will bring together the expertise of universities, research institutes and industry. Forty highly specialised engineers and operators will work together on the programmes, which will be based out of GKN Aerospace’s recently announced £32m Global Technology Centre in Bristol.

AM is a strategic technology for the Aerospace Industry that will fundamentally change the way we design and manufacture aircraft. AM enables us to control material characteristics enabling benefits in terms of product performance, cost and environment. With AIRLIFT and DAM and the Global Technology Centre in Bristol, GKN Aerospace will further develop and industrialise additive manufacturing within the UK industrial and scientific eco-system. The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) is an incredibly valuable resource for UK aerospace and we are delighted they are supporting this project to help the UK stay at the forefront of this exciting and emerging technology as part of the UK’s industrial strategy.

Russ Dunn CTO and Head of Strategy, GKN Aerospace

Dr. Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer of the Aerospace Technology Institute, says: “The ATI is delighted to support GKN Aerospace’s AIRLIFT and DAM projects. These exciting projects will progress additive manufacturing technology, extending the capabilities for largescale AM component manufacture for the UK. This offers great opportunities for efficient future aircraft structures with tailored properties as well as valuable material and energy savings. These investments in GKN’s new Global Technology centre will strengthen the UK’s position in AM and establish a route to industrialise Laser Wire Deposition for aerospace.”