George Osborne opens state-of-the-art UK Wing Structures Factory

The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer today opened a new facility that places the UK at the forefront of high-precision aerospace manufacturing. GKN Aerospace’s £170 million facility has been custom built for the high-speed, high-precision manufacture and assembly of carbon fibre reinforced plastic aircraft wing components that span nearly 30m in length.

Located near Bristol, the GKN Aerospace Western Approach facility has over 30,000m2 of floor space across two buildings, one focused on manufacture, the second on assembly. It uses the latest robotic technologies needed to produce complex wing structures. Employment is expected to rise to 450 employees by 2016.

Speaking at the event, George Osborne, said:

It makes me proud to be here in a factory that is one of the best in the world. GKN’s success is an example of what Government and business can achieve by working together. The aerospace industry is a national asset.

Two major contracts are underway at the site already: manufacture of A350 XWB all-composite rear wing spars and assembly of wing trailing edge and main landing gear parts to the spars to create complete 27m long aircraft wing trailing edges; and manufacture of the all-composite main wing spars for the A400M military transporter, also huge assemblies at just under 20m long. The A400M wing spar was the first primary wing structure for a large aircraft created entirely in carbon fibre reinforced plastic.

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