GKN Aerospace is to sponsor a five year Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) research chair, based at the University of Sheffield. The chair is focused on harnessing and developing the extraordinary potential of additive manufacture (AM) for aerospace and other high value industrial sectors.
The GKN Aerospace RAEng chair in Additive Manufacture and Advanced Structural Metallics will have three fundamental aims: to assist in the industrialisation of the current state-of-the-art technology as GKN moves towards production; to develop the required technology to enable the integration of materials and processes, extending the application of AM in the short term; to create entirely innovative processes and materials that will carry industry well beyond what is currently possible.
Russ Dunn, Senior Vice President Engineering & Technology, explains: “AM technologies promise a paradigm shift in engineering design and materials. We will be able to create previously impossible or totally uneconomical shapes, with little or no material wastage, and in the longer term we will be able to develop completely new materials and structures fully optimised for the role they perform. This new chair will build on GKN’s existing developments in additive manufacture and will sit at the heart of work to ensure UK industry continues to be a pioneering force in this global revolution in engineering.”
Professor Iain Todd has been nominated for the Chair. Professor Todd is recognised as a leading academic researcher in the fields of novel processing and alloys. He has led research into additive manufacture at the University of Sheffield since its commencement in 2006 and has been a driving force in the growth of its world-leading manufacturing research facility, The Mercury Centre. The current university AM research portfolio includes work on the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) supported, £15M Horizon Programme, led by GKN Aerospace, as well as collaborative research with organisations such as the Culham Centre for Fusion Engineering and CERN.
Professor Todd comments: “I’m delighted and honoured to be appointed to this prestigious role and look forward to working with GKN Aerospace and the Royal Academy of Engineering in promoting, researching and helping to drive this hugely exciting and disruptive manufacturing technology forwards. This is a very exciting time for advanced manufacturing and materials research in the UK. My role will be to strengthen the link between industry and academia in these fields and to transfer the engineering and scientific breakthroughs at the University level to industrial practice helping to drive productivity and competitiveness.”
Professor Ric Parker CBE FREng, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Research and Secondments Committee, says: “We are delighted to support this Chair as part of the University of Sheffield’s ongoing and productive collaboration with GKN. Additive manufacturing is an important area for research and development, which has enormous potential to improve industrial processes and UK productivity in the future.”
GKN Aerospace, the University of Sheffield and the Royal Academy of Engineering will make a combined investment worth £1m to support the chair over the five years, with the GKN Aerospace investment including funding for an additional 10 PhD students to support Professor Todd and the team of over 20 senior research staff already operating at the university.
GKN Aerospace has an established relationship with the University of Sheffield, most recently through the Horizon AM programme where the university, Renishaw and Delcam are partners. GKN Aerospace also supports PhD and EngD programmes at the university and provides student placements.
GKN Aerospace is also the industrial sponsor of a five year RAE Chair based at the University of Bath and focused on advancing the manufacture of aerospace composites.
Notes for editors
Professor Iain Todd joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2003. He obtained both his BEng and PhD at The Univeristy of Sheffield and has held postdoctoral appointments at Sheffield, the Netherlands Institute for Metals Research (NIMR) at TU-Delft and CENIM in Madrid. In 2010, he became Director of the Mercury Centre.
For further information, visit: www.sheffield.ac.uk/materials/staff/itodd
Royal Academy of Engineering: As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.
RAEng Research Chairs aim to strengthen the links between industry and academia by supporting exceptional academics in UK universities to undertake use-inspired research that meets the needs of the industrial partners. Applications are invited from professors, readers or senior lecturers from any engineering discipline wishing to build strong industrial collaborations. Engineering is defined in its broadest sense, encompassing a wide range of diverse fields, including computer science and materials.
For further information, visit: www.raeng.org.uk
The Mercury Centre: Established in 2010, The Mercury Centre is an innovative materials and manufacturing research centre, part financed by the European Development Fund, that aims to support the Yorkshire and Humber region's economic development by enabling industry to secure a globally leading position through faster time to market for new sectors.
For further information, visit: www.mercurycentre.org or contact Dr Martin Highett on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0114 222 5981.
University of Sheffield: With almost 26,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities. A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields. Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
For further information, visit: www.sheffield.ac.uk
GKN plc is a global engineering group. It has four divisions; GKN Aerospace, GKN Driveline, GKN Powder Metallurgy and GKN Land Systems, which operate in the aerospace, automotive and land systems markets. Over 50,000 people work in GKN companies and joint ventures in more than 30 countries. GKN is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: GKN) and recorded sales of GBP7.5 billion in the year to 31 December 2014.
GKN Aerospace is a global first tier supplier of airframe structures, engine components, transparencies and fuel/flotation systems, with sales of GBP2.2bn in 2014 and a global workforce of over 12,000 employees. It has a significant participation on all major aircraft programmes today and a broad customer base spanning commercial, military, business aerospace and space markets. The company’s extensive engineering capability and clear focus on targeted innovation has created technological and manufacturing leads in each of its areas of expertise.
For more information on this release contact:
Sandra Fearon, Public Relations Manager for Aerospace, GKN Aerospace
T:| +44 (0)1983 283649
E: | Sandra Fearon