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Innovation management specialist Axillium has convened a new £39.6-million (US$55-million) composite materials consortium, funded by a £20.0-million (US$28-million) commitment from industry and a £19.6-million (US$27-million) commitment from the UK Government via the ATI Program.
Named ASCEND (Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development), the consortium will focus on facilitating the adoption of new composite technologies, the industrialization of new technologies, as well as accelerating aerospace production rates to meet future high-volume requirements.
The collaboration will help develop technologies from across the UK supply-chain to develop the advanced materials and automation equipment required to manufacture lightweight structures for more sustainable aerospace and automotive applications.
The Axillium team initially identified the opportunity for a consortium-led approach to fund companies developing composite materials and processes with collaboration partner GKN Aerospace. After providing initial funding to catalyze the collaboration and define innovation outcomes, Axillium used its proprietary e-Volution innovation framework to convene potential partners around the industry challenge. Having defined the funding support with the ATI, Axillium and is now independently managing the ASCEND program’s innovation delivery in line with Innovate UK’s monitoring processes.
Through a 3-year commitment, the consortium will bring together expertise, capabilities and resources from across the wider UK aerospace and automotive supply chain.
ASCEND lead partner GKN Aerospace will use its long-term experience and in-depth knowledge of composite engineering for integrated airframe structures, and is joined in the ASCEND consortium by partners Assyst Bullmer, Airborne, Cobham Mission Systems Wimborne, Cygnet Texkimp, Des Composites, FAR-UK Ltd, Hexcel Composites, Hive Composites, LMAT, Loop Technology, McLaren Automotive, the National Composites Centre, Rafinex, Sigmatex (UK) and Solvay Composite Materials.
The consortium will be led from GKN Aerospace’s £32-million Global Technology Center (GTC) in Bristol.