GKN Aerospace has announced that it will relocate its North America additive manufacturing (AM) center of excellence to the Lone Star Commerce Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The move will strengthen its position as an additive technology leader with a larger facility, plans for an additional larger AM cell, and increased collaboration within the aerospace ecosystem.
The 100,000 square-foot facility will initially house research and development of laser metal deposition with wire (LMD-w) additive manufacturing technology for large-scale titanium aerostructures. Early in 2023, GKN Aerospace will transfer existing equipment and personnel from Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Tennessee to the new site in Texas. Over the next few years, GKN Aerospace expects to transform the facility into its fourth Global Technology Center to complement existing centers in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK.
Shawn Black, GKN Aerospace’s President of Defense said: “We are very excited to bring our additive technology research to Fort Worth. With proximity to many of our major customers in Texas and across the US, this is the right place for GKN Aerospace. Along with partnership with local government, we look forward to expanding our titanium additive manufacturing capabilities and pushing the boundaries of this technology for our customers and the aerospace industry.”
GKN Aerospace will renovate the facility with office space and equipment over the next two years, while the City of Fort Worth will provide grant funding based on qualified R&D investment. When at full capacity, the center will support up to 100 personnel.
Robert Sturns, Director of Economic Development for the City of Fort Worth said: "Fort Worth is proud to welcome GKN Aerospace and excited by the cutting-edge R&D that it will bring to the region. This center of excellence builds on a strong cluster of Fort Worth-based firms who are innovating the future of aerospace and transportation manufacturing, and we look forward to the partnership that we are building with GKN Aerospace."
GKN Aerospace is already a world-leader in LMD-w technology, with decades of experience in advanced aero-engine component development and large aerostructure expertise, with AM components currently flying on platforms across the civil, engines and space markets. It recently achieved a milestone by completing its largest titanium AM demonstration part to date, with the production of a component measuring 8 feet (2.5 metres) and processed from approximately 100 pounds of titanium wire.