Breaking Ground at COMPASS facility with AMRC, Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems

We were honoured to attend the ground breaking ceremony for the new COMPASS facility at University of Sheffield alongside our partners AMRC, Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems.

The Composites at Speed and Scale facility (COMPASS) will be the home for the Boeing-led Isothermic High-Rate Sustainable Structures (IHSS) project, which will develop new technology that meets the growing demand for lighter commercial aircraft, whilst accelerating the aviation industry’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050.

Panel discussion AMRC

The undertaking will initially create around 50 jobs in South Yorkshire and has the potential to create up to 3000 UK jobs long-term, and around £2 billion annually in export opportunities.

This £80m investment includes a £29.5m grant from the UK Government’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme to develop cutting-edge equipment that benefits aerospace and other industries as well as £20m for the building from South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), Sheffield City Council, University of Sheffield, and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Our Managing Director, Alun Reece, said:

“We are incredibly excited to be part of the programme. Working closely with global leaders, the programme will push automation technologies beyond the current state of the art and help to keep the UK at the forefront of high- rate primary structure research and manufacturing.”

Alun took part in a panel discussion with Todd Citron, Chief Technology Officer at Boeing, Maria Lane, President Boeing UK, Ireland and Nordic Region, and Sean Black, Senior Vice President from Spirit AeroSystems.

The panel was moderated by Steve Foxley, CEO at AMRC, who said about the event:

“Today is a very important moment for the AMRC, our partners, funders and the region as we mark the first steps to build our COMPASS facility and deliver on a vision to put South Yorkshire at the forefront of UK aerospace and composites manufacturing research and development. COMPASS shows that collaboration really is the cornerstone of innovation, bringing together the strengths of industry, academia, and government to develop production technologies that currently do not exist and turn them into future capabilities that can enable lighter aircraft and more sustainable flight.”

It was a superb event attended by key stakeholders and partners. Gary Elliott, Chief Executive of the Aerospace Technology Institute, stated:

“We are proud of our £29.5m commitment to AMRC and Boeing’s research programme, which will support aerospace companies to develop cutting-edge composite technologies, anchor manufacturing in the UK, and provide open-access facilities for the sector. This is a transformative investment in both the UK’s world-class aerospace sector and South Yorkshire’s aerospace cluster.”

Mike Biddle, Executive Director from Innovate UK said the facility “…enhances the UK’s world-class position to secure and grow our national aerospace industry and support other technology related sectors.” Further to this, Katherine Bennett CBE, Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, stated that “UK industry can lead the way in tackling the biggest challenges we face; COMPASS is at the forefront of this, and will allow the UK supply chain to seize the opportunities that net zero presents.”

What an exciting chapter ahead for everyone involved!