Loop Technology have partnered with Boeing, The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), and Spirit AeroSystems in one of the UK’s largest ever advanced manufacturing investments. The £80 million investment, announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is aimed at revolutionising aerospace manufacturing and creating thousands of highly skilled UK jobs.
Loop Technology will provide its automated equipment for manufacturing large-scale composite parts at a high rate including handling, assembly, and inspection of carbon fibre material. The technology is a result of the company’s forward-thinking over 13 years ago to develop cutting-edge technology to build next-generation, fuel-efficient aircraft.
Alun Reece, managing director of Loop Technology, said: “The opportunity to work with the teams at Boeing, Spirit and AMRC is exceptional, and recognition of the world leading automation capabilities Loop are able to bring to the programme. The positive impact this will have on the business, our supply chain and wider community is incredible and is another step towards realising our ambition of becoming a major player in the aerospace automation sector. We look forward with great excitement and enthusiasm to delivering the programme.”
The Boeing-led project, known as Isothermic High-Rate Sustainable Structures (IHSS) and funded through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, will centre around automated dry fibre and resin infusion advanced manufacturing methods, which will achieve high manufacturing rates and increase production efficiency.
Boeing – as lead partner on IHSS – will provide project oversight, leadership and technical support.
The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) will establish the Compass (Composites at Speed and Scale) facility in Sheffield to house the research.
Spirit AeroSystems will advance stringer preform fabrication and inspection technologies and will be responsible for performing all of the part inspections and factory modelling from their facility in Prestwick.
The project has the potential to create 3,000 UK jobs long-term, and around £2 billion annually in export opportunities.