GKN Aerospace’s Additive Manufacturing Technology Expansion

Joakim Andersson, President of GKN Aerospace’s Engines Business, Says New Swedish Additive Manufacturing Investment Will Support Sustainability in Aviation

Aviation component manufacturer GKN Aerospace has announced that it will invest US$63m in additive manufacturing technology. The company hopes to reduce material wastage by 80% in the production of aero-engine components. The Swedish Government will also fund US$15m of the investment.

The new additive manufacturing equipment will be operational later in 2024, at GKN Aerospace’s Trollhättan facility, in Sweden. This will create 150 new jobs for operators, technicians and engineers.


GKN: From iron and steel to aerospace additive manufacturing

Based in Birmingham, England, GKN was founded in 1759, where it manufactured items for the iron and steel industry. Now, GKN’s Aerospace department is a world leading multi-technology aerospace supplier and is on a mission to be ‘the most sustainable partner in the sky’.GKN has facilities across the UK and the USA, which specifically work on aerospace additive manufacturing projects. 

Additive technology is a layer-by-layer construction process which uses metal wiring, or sometimes even powder. The material is fused together using lasers as opposed to castings.

The terms ‘additive manufacturing’ and ‘3D printing’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. The 3D printing process prints an object layer by layer, while additive manufacturing utilises other technologies.

Read more about 3D printing here, ‘Top 10 3D printing companies’.

Championing sustainability breakthroughs in aviation with additive fabrication technology

Joakim Andersson, President of GKN Aerospace’s engines business, said that the company is committed to driving sustainability in the aviation industry.

“We are pioneering improved solutions for our customers,” said Andersson. “Our development of additive fabrication for large, complex and load-bearing aircraft components is a great example of this and it marks a significant breakthrough for the industry. The benefits we see from this technology are truly game-changing.”

Andersson also said that support from the Swedish government has been pivotal in enabling GKN Aerospace to push its capabilities forward.

Peter Engdahl, Head of Research, Innovation and Business Development at the Swedish Energy Agency, said it was clear that GKN Aerospace’s plan is creating sustainable opportunities for manufacturing. 

“GKN Aerospace’s solution will be able to contribute to a reduced use of raw materials and create opportunities to fundamentally change the design, making the aircraft engine lighter and more efficient. This is the first time this technology is being tested for this component size and we see the potential for it to spread globally and also in other areas.”

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