The aerostructures business of US-based GE Aviation has begun the development of a 9,000m2 (96,875ft2) composites production facility at its site in Hamble, UK. The move is part of a five-year, US$50m-plus investment plan for the site to support the company’s manufacture of wing components for the Airbus A350 XWB jetliner family.
The Hamble composites facility will include a 2,000m2 (21,527ft2) cleanroom, two autoclaves and four large curing ovens for out-of-autoclave composites production, five-axis machine tools, non-destructive testing facilities and offices for administrative and engineering personnel.
The company says the facility will enable GE Aviation, Hamble to ramp up the output of wing fixed trailing edge components for the A350-800, A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft, reaching the capacity to deliver up to 13 shipsets each month.
The development involves the complete conversion of two existing buildings at the historic Hamble-le-Rice aviation production site in Southampton, Hampshire, to create the new facility, which is expected to become operational in early 2015. Hartwell Architects of Dover, Kent are the architects involved in the project.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the UK the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), with Boeing, has secured funding for a £43m research factory to meet the future needs of aerospace and other industries. The AMRC Factory 2050 will be a fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research, capable of switching production rapidly between different high-value components and one-off parts.