GKN Aerospace goes out on a wing with manufacturing facility

Located outside Bristol, the Western Approach facility will be used to manufacture and assemble carbon-fibre-reinforced wing components. The £170m facility currently employs 300 staff but this is expected to rise to 450 by 2016. Made up of two buildings with a total floor space of 30,000m2, the facility is already engaged in the manufacture of components for the Airbus A350 XWB and A400M. The first building — operating at between 10°C and 21°C ambient with 40–50 per cent humidity — contains the composites manufacturing operation where automated fibre placement (AFP) machinery supplied by M Torres is currently applying 7–10kg of material an hour to the A350’s rear wing spars. The steerable, automated tape-laying process can simultaneously apply 16 tows to the spar and improv

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