• Boeing will invest £2 million to boost innovation in UK aerospace industry over two years
  • Startups invited to pitch Industry 4.0 and sustainability enabling technologies
  • GKN Aerospace is inaugural corporate sponsor; others invited to join

Boeing and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) have announced the launch of a two-year programme intended to support the growth of startups in the UK aerospace industry. The first round of the programme will be three months’ long and seeks world-class startups creating Industry 4.0 and sustainability enabling technologies with the potential to bolster the growth and competitiveness of the UK aerospace industry. Startups that are selected for funding will receive up to £100,000.

“Through this partnership Boeing and the ATI are accelerating innovation and the growth of a vibrant global startup ecosystem,” said Brian Schettler, Boeing HorizonX Ventures senior managing director.

The application period for the London-based accelerator closes on 15th November. The programme is delivered in partnership with Ignite, a UK-based startup accelerator and investment network. GKN Aerospace is the inaugural corporate sponsor, with other sponsors expected to join.

“Innovation is a common thread through the more than 80 years of partnership between Boeing and the UK,” said Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director for the United Kingdom & Ireland. “This £2 million investment is a new chapter in Boeing’s history, providing financial support and expert mentoring to enhance the UK’s thriving startup community and strengthen aerospace innovation and industry prosperity.”

Gary Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of the ATI, said:

We are excited to be setting up the first dedicated commercial aerospace accelerator, enhancing the opportunities for innovative startup businesses to be successful in the industry. The potential for new technologies or business models to enhance productivity and tackle sustainability challenges in the sector is growing. Many of these opportunities will be advanced through the fresh thinking and agility of entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses. It is therefore a priority for the ATI to ensure the UK aerospace ecosystem is well placed to support these businesses. This programme breaks new ground, leveraging our networks and neutrality to bring multiple corporate sponsors together and give the startups unparalleled opportunities to develop their ideas, source investments and access customers.

“This programme is an example of the aerospace industry at its best – global businesses working with dynamic startups to accelerate innovation and benefit the whole industry,” said Paul Perera, vice president of technology at GKN Aerospace. “Partnerships like this will drive the breakthroughs of tomorrow.”

In January 2020, the first cohort of startups will begin their participation in the accelerator. Leaders from Boeing, ATI and sponsoring partners will mentor the startups on business building and skill development, including connecting them with funding opportunities and commercialising solutions.

In April 2020, the startups will celebrate the end of the programme with a demonstration day, where they will pitch their businesses to customers, key industry stakeholders and investors to help the startups achieve commercial and equity outcomes.

Learn more about the ATI Boeing Accelerator here.

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovair, the Swedish programme for aeronautics, together with delivery partners Innovate UK and Vinnova, have today announced the award of four projects that are being funded under a joint aerospace funding call between the UK and Sweden.

The call, operated under the EUREKA Network Projects programme, was developed to foster industry-led collaborative R&D projects between the UK and Sweden to advance both countries’ aerospace industries. UK organisations were given the opportunity to apply for a share of up to £2.25 million to develop aerospace technology in partnership with Swedish companies.

The success of the call was announced at the EUREKA Global Innovation Summit being hosted in Manchester (14th-16th May 2019).

The projects selected will conduct research with strong market potential for the UK and Sweden and, guided by the respective aerospace strategies of the UK and Sweden, cover a range of technology areas, including materials, propulsion and systems.

Two such projects focus on high temperature electronics and the analysis of complex sensors and electric components in aircraft.

With aircraft using ever-greater electrical applications, there is a growing need for new high-temperature electronics and the project, focusing on new transistor devices, will pave the way for more electric applications in aircraft. The benefits of more electrical applications are numerous, including reduced weight, greater reliability, lower maintenance costs and increased efficiency. The project is led by Rolls-Royce and is supported by Ascatron AB and other organisations from Sweden.

The sensors and electrical analysis project, led by ESI Group in Sweden and with International Technegroup as UK partners, will look at electromagnetic interference with aircraft systems. A better understanding will enable more complex sensors to be fitted to aircraft, improving the operation of the aircraft and the passenger experience by increasing connectivity.

Commenting on the call, the UK’s Ambassador to Sweden, His Excellency David Cairns said:

For two countries such as Britain and Sweden our economic development depends on high-quality research, innovation, technology, development, and collaboration, and in perhaps no sector is this more important than aerospace. Through this joint funding call both our countries will close gaps in capability, gain access to new partners, bolster existing capability, and encourage greater levels of trade and investment between both our countries.

Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK, said:

As the UK prepares to welcome international businesses and innovation agencies to the EUREKA Global Innovation Summit, Innovate UK, alongside BEIS and the ATI, is proud to be supporting these projects funded through the EUREKA Network Project Call in Aerospace 2018, with Sweden. They demonstrate the vital role that that collaboration with the global supply chain plays in supporting the success of the UK Aerospace industry.

Malcolm Scott, Corporate Development Officer at the ATI, said:

Over the last few years we have shared our respective aerospace strategies, identified areas for mutual collaboration and have taken time to build the case for a joint R&D funding call. We are delighted to be able to award funding to these projects, which will facilitate new relationships and close capability gaps in both the UK and Sweden and we hope to strengthen ties with Swedish colleagues by holding a further call in 2020.

Director General of the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova, Darja Isaksson said:

To stay competitive within aeronautics you have to collaborate with the best nations to reach excellence in engineering. The long-term benefit of this funding call will be to accelerate the development of aerospace technology by working together and it is very important to do so in light of pressing environmental concerns.

ATI’s Technologist, Nour Eid, reports from presenting at Aerotech Americas and the opportunity to see the Boeing 787 FAL.

Last month I travelled to Charleston, South Carolina, for SAE Aerotech Americas where I presented an overview of how the ATI is exploring the potential of disruptive technologies, some recent technological innovations in UK aerospace and how the UK is shaping the future of flight. The overall theme of the conference was “Shaping the Future of Aerospace” and many of the keynotes and technical sessions explored some of the innovations that are taking place across the pond.

Dr Greg Hyslop at Aerotech Americas

Before the conference kicked off, I started off the week with a tour of Boeing’s 787 final assembly line in North Charleston. The engineers who showed us around the facility were proud of the fact that the site is unique in manufacturing components “from freezer to flight – raw composite materials are stored in freezers until they are needed for production, then they are manufactured, assembled on to the aircraft and flown away by the customer. The facility mostly assembles the 787-10 variant (the longest of the 787 family) but also manufactures aft-body and mid-body sections for fuselages of all 787 variants. I was lucky enough to spot a 747 Dreamlifter taking-off full of components, en route to Boeing’s Everett facility where the rest of the 787 family is built.

The conference kicked off on Tuesday. Two notable presentations were from Dr Greg Hyslop, Boeing’s Chief Technology Officer, and Jason Chua, Executive Director of United Technologies Advanced Projects.

Hyslop gave an update on the 777X, the latest of Boeing’s long-range family. The aircraft is unique in that the 65m wingspan has a folding wingtip which allows it to fit into the same airport gates as existing 777 aircraft. The 777X is due to take-off on its first test flight later this year. Hyslop also spoke of Boeing’s partnership with Aerion to build a 12-passenger supersonic business jet, with the first aircraft planned to fly in 2023.

Regardless of the technology, new innovations in aerospace are about increasing the value of time – Dr Greg Hyslop, Boeing CTO

Jason Chua unveiled United Technology’s Project 804. This flight demonstrator aims to re-engine one side of a Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft with a 2MW hybrid-electric propulsion system, comprising a 1MW gas turbine and 1MW electric motor. The ‘804’ in Project 804 refers to the straight-line mileage between Pratt & Whitney’s (P&W) site in Longueuil, Quebec and Collins Aerospace’s site in Rockford Illinois; both instrumental in providing propulsion and systems expertise to the project. The project will accelerate the development of key components in a similar fashion to Airbus and Rolls Royce’s eFAN-x demonstrator – a project which has been supported by the ATI.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) also featured quite heavily throughout the conference with Boeing, NASA, Spirit and P&W all presenting opportunities offered by metal powder bed and large scale direct energy deposition processes.

It was great to see that the AM technologies being developed in America are on par with the major AM projects that are taking place here in the UK (DRAMA and OAAM to name but two).

There were also several presentations on urban mobility and “unlocking the z-dimension”. A particular highlight was a panel discussion on this topic chaired by Mark Moore, Engineering Director at Uber Elevate. You can watch the session here.

I presented an overview of some recent innovations in UK aerospace, how the ATI is cultivating an environment to develop disruptive technologies and how the UK is shaping the future of flight. I was delighted to see a high level of representation from the UK. Colleagues from Cranfield University, the MTC, University of Nottingham and the AMRC were all in Charleston and they presented some of their great research in manufacturing, assembly and digitalisation.

Overall, a fantastic conference and a brilliant opportunity to see what technologies are being developed internationally.

Mark Scully, our Head of Technology for Propulsion & Advanced Systems, gives his view on the UK Technology and Capability Showcase for Collins Aerospace, held last month in Charlotte, NC 25-27th March.

A number of UK SMEs from the supply chain were hosted by the Collins Aerospace group as part of a trade mission to encourage inward investment into the UK.

Organised by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT), it gave an opportunity for UK suppliers to meet with Collins Aerospace and discuss potential business opportunities. Paolo Dal Cin, Vice President, Operations & Quality, gave us an introduction to the company which was followed by a briefing by Kris Pinnow, Vice President, Global Strategic Sourcing, on Collins Aerospace’s supplier engagement processes and expectations.

A closed session was also held between ATI, BEIS, DIT and the Leadership team from Collins Aerospace to describe the UK innovation ecosystem and wider UK policy. A panel session was held on UK Industrial Strategy and the Aerospace Sector Deal, with insights from John Thompson, Head of Aerospace at DIT, Greg Warren, Senior Policy Advisor at BEIS, and myself.

Throughout the day the UK supply chain companies held B2B meetings with representatives from across the Collins Aerospace group. Parallel sessions between ATI and Collins Aerospace Supply Chain teams also identified a number of potential technology project opportunities through Collins Aerospace businesses in the UK.

ATI will be following up on these leads to explore and develop collaborative opportunities. Since the event a number of UK companies have already indicated some progress following the initial meetings and we look forward to further developments in the future.

The trade mission also gave Greg Warren and I a chance to visit Collins Aerospace’s Rockford facility to discuss UK opportunities for electrification technology. This was a particularly timely visit following the announcement the day before regarding the United Technologies X-Plane demonstrator.

We met several members of the senior team including Bill Dolan, Vice President Engineering for the Power & Controls Business Unit, Juan De Bedout, Vice President Advanced Technologies & Effectiveness and Todd Spierling, Director of Research & Technology for the Power & Controls Business Unit. Joining us from the UK Power & Controls R&T Centre were Joshua Parkin, Director of Technology and Marc Holme, Engineering Director. We promoted the UK as a great opportunity for Collins Aerospace’s ambitions in electrification. We were delighted to be given a site tour which included some impressive research and test facilities to support electrical systems development. ATI and BEIS plan to follow up with Collins Aerospace to identify and develop any potential opportunities for growth in the UK.

For more information on the United Technologies X-Plane Demonstrator:  https://tech.utc.com/-/media/Project/UTRC/UTRC-Intranet/Technology/Tech-Website/UTAP/A-Technical-Analysis-of-United-Technologies-Advanced-Projects-X-Plane—March-2019—Final.pdf

Participating UK suppliers included:

  • Bradfor Ltd
  • Broadway Engineering Ltd
  • CCP Gransden Ltd
  • Cecence
  • Columbia
  • Denroy Plastics
  • Exact CNC
  • GKN Aerospace
  • IPC
  • Marshall
  • McBraida
  • Nasmyth Group Ltd
  • Neural Digital
  • Poeton industries
  • Portsmouth Aviation Ltd
  • Resonate Testing
  • Senior Aerospace BWT
  • Smiths Harlow
  • Thales
  • Tods Aerospace
  • Trackwise
  • TT Electronics
  • Vesarien
  • WL Gore

It’s been another busy week at the ATI for Scott Pendry, Head of International R&D and Policy Engagement. Find out what Scott has been up to this week as he reflects on the many plates he keeps spinning. 

Starting the week in Sweden

Monday-Wednesday saw Simon Weeks and me visit Sweden for meetings with GKN Engines Systems in Trollhättan, Saab aeronautics in Linköping  and the Swedish government in Stockholm. ‘Why are you off to Sweden again?’ …is a question I’m often asked by friends and family. Put simply, Sweden punches above its weight when it comes to innovation and is a country that is very good at advancing aerospace technology. There’s a huge amount of Saab components on Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and over 30% of the Gripen fighter comes from UK suppliers. In addition, GKN Engine Systems are on 90% of commercial aircraft programmes. Clearly, there’s a lot of potential there and we have found that carefully considered international collaboration can help both countries’ aerospace sectors.

We’ve had a lot of meetings with the Swedes over the last few years and some of the connections we have facilitated have resulted in some very good collaborations, not least the Cranfield University/Saab link up to create the UK’s first digital control tower.

The recent joint UK-Sweden funding call has been another very good way to further bilateral collaboration and in the coming weeks several projects will be announced covering areas that will benefit the UK supply chain, along with UK primes.

During our visit, GKN and Saab provided us with useful information about their future R&T plans and we were able to probe as to how their plans relate to Raising Ambition.

While individual bilateral opportunities are small compared with the vast European Framework Programmes (which contains all the Airbus countries as well as other leading aerospace nations such as Italy and the Netherlands) the global nature of the industry means it’s important to foster direct country to country R&D relationships and the ATI programme is a very attractive proposition to attract inward investment. In addition to Sweden we are developing promising collaborations with Canada and the USA, drawing on experience of collaborating with our European partners through EU R&D programmes.

Thursday – talking about the ATI at the Inside Government ‘Investing in Aerospace’ conference

Most of us at the ATI are often out and about and regularly speaking at conferences. On Thursday it was my turn and I spoke on a panel at the Inside Government conference on investing in aerospace.

It was a good opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector and the role the ATI is playing in keeping the UK at the forefront of technology innovation.

I particularly enjoyed talking about the potential for disruption and the opportunities that go with it which will often involve working together with non-traditional aerospace companies and start-ups.

Friday… a shift of focus to domestic UK issues

The government’s Aviation Strategy consultation occupied a large part of Friday. The ATI’s expertise in technology innovation means we have a lot to say in response to the paper and it will be a good opportunity to reference the Future Flight Challenge and how it is developing. Some of the areas we will comment on include the infrastructure required to enable future air transport concepts and the importance of focussing on intermodality. Both of these areas will underpin the operation and commercial feasibility of new aircraft.

In summary – a good and varied week and a chance to look at future opportunities for the UK.

The ATI and Innovair, the Swedish programme for aeronautics, together with delivery partners Innovate UK and Vinnova, have launched a new UK-Sweden joint funding call for aerospace R&D projects.

The call, operated under the EUREKA Network Projects programme, has been developed to foster industry-led collaborative R&D projects between the UK and Swedish to advance both countries’ aerospace industries. UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £2.25 million to develop aerospace technology in partnership with Swedish companies.

Applicants are expected to develop projects that have strong market potential for the UK and Sweden and all applications must be guided by the respective aerospace strategies of the UK and Sweden: the UK Aerospace Research & Technology Programme strategy (Raising Ambition) and the Swedish aeronautical research and innovation agenda (NRIA Flyg), respectively.

Project ideas are welcome to come forward covering all aspects of civil aerospace and aeronautics. Projects should demonstrate alignment to the national aerospace strategies of the UK and Sweden, which includes structures, materials, systems, propulsion, manufacturing processes, and through-life engineering services.

The call was announced at the Farnborough International Airshow, and the Institute was honoured to be joined Sweden’s Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Torbjörn Sohlström, to mark the occasion.

Stephen Henwood CBE, Chairman of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said:

This call is the result of discussions over the last two years. Collaborating across borders is not straightforward.  Organisations such as the ATI are, after all, set up to benefit the national economy. I am sure the same is true on the Swedish side. But this preparatory work has shown us clearly that, done properly, there is absolutely a prize to be won through working together.

Our teams have worked from a strong base of previous collaboration, shared their strategic goals, explored in detail where mutual interest lies, developed a deep knowledge of the capabilities in both countries, and made the case. They have designed a call to have a catalysing effect – facilitating new relationships, accelerating technology development in mutually important areas, creating new supply chains, and increasing competitiveness in both countries.

The UK’s Ambassador to Sweden, His Excellency David Cairns, provided some words of welcome for the new initiative:

“For two countries such as Britain and Sweden our economic development depends on high-quality research, innovation, technology, development, and collaboration, and in perhaps no sector is this more important than aerospace. I hope that through this joint funding call, both our countries will close gaps in capability, gain access to new partners, bolster existing capability, and encourage greater levels of trade and investment between both our countries.”

The call is now open, and will close at noon on Wednesday 24th October 2018.

For more details, and to register and apply, please visit the Innovate UK (here) or the EUREKA (here) web sites.

Image above: His Excellency Torbjörn Sohlström (L) and Stephen Henwood CBE at Farnborough International Airshow.

Funding support for the latest technologies in aerospace engine manufacturing and performance have been announced by Aerospace Minister Richard Harrington.

The two projects, jointly funded by Rolls-Royce and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), will bring together the best talent in the industry from academia and businesses to work on world-renowned research for aero-engine maintenance and manufacturing. The funding will support research to develop new engine cooling systems and cutting-edge technology to stop the formation of ice crystals on engines when cruising at high altitudes.

Aerospace Minister Richard Harrington confirmed the £10.7 million government funding towards the Rolls-Royce-led R&D projects on a visit to Rolls-Royce’s engineering and manufacturing facilities in Derby. In June 2017, Rolls-Royce committed to invest £150 million in their UK facilities to support plans of doubling engine production.

Aerospace Minister Richard Harrington said:

As the home of the first jet engine, the UK has an aerospace heritage that’s revered around the world. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we will continue this legacy and have already committed to work with industry to invest £3.9 billion to further transform the sector.

These two projects will see the best talent from the industry come together to help the UK reach even greater heights in aerospace excellence.

The latest projects, worth over £21 million in total, are supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Rolls-Royce with academic industry partners. This will be delivered through Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency.

Chief Technology Officer for Rolls-Royce Paul Stein said:

We welcome the support announced by the UK Government today. Rolls-Royce is focused on pioneering new technologies and developing the next generation of highly skilled engineers by working with academia and industry.  These research projects will play an important role in developing the innovative technologies needed to enhance performance, improve efficiency and reduce emissions of future aircraft.

The projects set to receive funding are:

  • COAST (Critical Oil and Air System Technologies), £3.7 million, focuses on the development of engine systems to support cabin cooling, and advanced sealing solutions for oil systems and bearing chambers. The technologies developed in COAST will support reductions in fuel burn and improve the reliability of oil systems and the integration of engine systems with the airframe. This project is led by Rolls-Royce plc. in collaboration with Bladon Jet Ltd based, an SME in Coventry and the Universities of Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.
  • DE-ICER (Design Excellence – Ice Crystal Engine Research), £7 million, focuses on tackling the formation of ice crystals that can damage an aircraft. The project aims to target current gaps in ice crystal formation and develop anti-icing systems and technology to protect the engine. This project is led by Rolls-Royce plc. in collaboration with Satavia Ltd, an SME in Cambridge, GKN Aerospace and the University of Oxford.

In 2015, the Government and industry committed to spend £3.9 billion to further transform aerospace research until 2026 to help this sector build on our unique strengths in the UK through the Industrial Strategy.

The Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. It sets out how we are building a Britain fit for the future – how we will help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.

Funding support for the next generation of aerospace projects, including X-Ray imaging technology for engine assembly and maintenance, have been announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark. Each project, jointly funded by Rolls-Royce and government, brings together academia and businesses from across the UK to work together on world-leading research for aero-engine technologies.

At the ground-breaking event for Rolls-Royce’s new engine test bed facility in Derby, the Business Secretary announced the award of £24 million government funding towards four Rolls-Royce-led collaborative R&D projects. The four projects, worth £58.3 million in total, are supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute and will be delivered through Innovate UK.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

Our modern Industrial Strategy is backed by the biggest increase in R&D investment this country has ever seen. We have committed, along with industry, to spend £3.9 billion to build on our reputation for aerospace excellence.

These pioneering projects Rolls-Royce are spearheading will help us deliver this ambition, with joint government-industry funding going to projects that bring the best minds from Rolls-Royce, SMEs and academia to unlock breakthroughs in technology that is fundamental to the aerospace sector.

The projects set to receive funding are:

  • PACE (Proving Advanced Concept Engine), £22m project
  • CAJoRR (Cutting edge Approaches for Joining of RR1073), £8m project
  • ENCASE (Enabling Novel Controls & Advanced Sensors for Engines), £18.4m project
  • EXCITE (EXternal Component Integration of Technologies for Engines), £9.2m project

Mark Scully, the Institute’s Head of Technology for Advanced Systems and Propulsion, said:

The Government has announced its investment of £24 million to support four ATI-approved Rolls-Royce led R&D projects: developing the next generation of more efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft engines. The UK aerospace sector is one that is ambitious and innovative, leading the way in technological advancements and world-class research. This announcement is a great example of such ambition, and another step towards securing our reputation of aerospace excellence. The ATI is dedicated to supporting the UK aerospace sector and has a crucial role to play in advising and guiding joint Government and industry investment. To date, we have approved over 200 projects through the UK’s R&T programme.

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said:

We welcome the support announced by the UK Government today. These research projects will help Rolls-Royce and our partners develop more efficient, technologically sophisticated aircraft engines that are vital to reducing emissions and underline the aerospace industry’s commitment to improving the environment.

We are focused on pioneering new technologies and these projects will support important advancements for our UltraFan® engine.  The UltraFan® engine will offer a 25% fuel efficiency improvement over the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines.

The plans for the testbed were announced by Rolls-Royce in June 2017 as part of a wider £150m investment in UK aerospace facilities.

The new testbed, which is expected to be commissioned in 2020, will support Rolls-Royce’s ongoing industrial transformation and will provide important additional capacity as the civil aerospace business continues to ramp-up engine production and deliver on a record order book.

Capable of testing a range of today’s engines, including the Trent XWB and the Trent 1000, the facility will also serve as a base for testing UltraFan®, Rolls-Royce’s engine for the next generation of aircraft.

The new testbed, which will be the largest indoor facility of its type in the world, will harness the latest digital technology to set conditions and obtain evidence from a wide variety of test activities, such as water ingestion and endurance testing. It will also benefit from the latest advancements in test equipment including new x-ray capabilities.

The testbed itself will have an internal area of 7,500m2, making it larger than a Premiership football pitch, and will be surrounded by two concrete walls which measure up to 1.7m thick.

(Image: An artist’s impression of the new Rolls-Royce testbed © Rolls-Royce)

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the National Graphene Institute (NGI) at The University of Manchester have published a joint paper on the potential of graphene in aerospace.

In consultation with a range of stakeholders, the ATI and NGI have brought together a sector perspective of the benefits of working with graphene and the potential market opportunities available to UK aerospace companies.

Graphene – widely hailed as a wonder material since it was first isolated in 2004 and the subsequent Nobel Prize in Physics that was awarded to two Manchester scientists in 2010 – has the potential to positively impact aircraft performance, cost and fuel efficiency.

The safety and performance properties of aircraft could be significantly improved by incorporating atomically-thin graphene into existing materials used to build planes, while the reduced weight of the material could have a positive impact on the fuel efficiency of the aircraft and, as result, the environment.

In an exclusive introduction to the INSIGHT paper, Sir Richard Branson said:

The potential for graphene to solve enduring challenges within the aerospace sector presents real opportunities for the material to become disruptive, and a key enabler in future aircraft technology. We need to accelerate the opportunity for the UK to realise the benefits from graphene by creating a portfolio of graphene-related research and technology projects which if undertaken would lead to real impact in our aerospace industry.

The joint ATI and NGI paper was launched at the Materials Research Exchange 2018 by Mark Summers, Head of Technology for Manufacturing, Materials & Structures at the ATI, and James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester at The University of Manchester.

Mark Summers said:

The UK has pioneered the research and development of graphene. The material has the potential to bring exciting applications and efficiencies into the sector. Although its exploitation into the aerospace sector is still in its infancy, it is anticipated that the scope of potential applications will continue to expand.

We will seek to accelerate the maturation of graphene technology opportunities through our R&T programme, in a bid for the UK to remain ahead of the challenge and continue leading on the research and exploitation of the material in aerospace.

James Baker said:

Major generational improvements in the aerospace sector have been associated with embracing new materials. Aluminium and carbon fibre have seen planes become faster, greener, cheaper with more functionality. Now graphene and related two-dimensional materials can mark the next step-change.

“By incorporating graphene into the existing materials used to manufacture planes, performance properties could be improved across number of key areas. By utilising the multi-functional properties of graphene and through collaboration between industry and academia, there are significant opportunities which can accelerate the next-generation of aerospace technologies.

The ATI and NGI are continuing to collaborate on accelerating the technology development cycle for graphene applications in the UK aerospace sector – identifying suitable opportunities for graphene and ensuring that the UK aerospace sector can leverage the material’s amazing properties to remain globally competitive.

Organisations that worked with the Aerospace Technology Institute and National Graphene Institute on the paper included the University of Central Lancashire, the Centre for Process Innovation, QinetiQ, Morson Projects Limited and Haydale Limited with input from Ekosgen.

The ATI has today launched a Fixed Trade Calculator to support the UK aerospace sector, particularly those organisations that don’t have easy access to simplified trade-off study capabilities.

The Fixed Trade Calculator enables assessment of the impact of novel technologies on representative conventional narrow- and wide-bodied aircraft. It provides users with the fuel burn benefits, operating cost changes and environmental impact (in terms of CO2) that can result from introducing new technologies onto these aircraft.

The online resource is designed to inform discussion and support decision making within the UK aerospace supply chain – and is already being used to assess relevant project applications made to the UK Aerospace R&T Programme.

This is a first for the UK, and ground-breaking in global aerospace. The few organisations that have the capability to make fixed trade calculations are often unable to share the modelling outside of their partner organisations. The Institute’s Fixed Trade Calculator has been developed using public data to provide access to this capability to all organisations within the UK aerospace ecosystem.

Steve Clerkin, Head of Aerospace Electrical Power Systems at Raytheon said:

The gold nugget for power electronics companies is being able to estimate the value of one kilogram of weight change in terms of fuel burn and platform operating costs. Until now, this capability was not something that was easily accessible to us. The Fixed Trade Calculator developed by the ATI is the first independent way of calculating such trade-offs, giving companies credible information to support decision making and increased competitive opportunities.

Gary Elliott, Chief Executive of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said:

The Fixed Trade Calculator developed by the Institute will be a unique capability for the UK supply chain.  Sharing a capability such as this, which has previously only been available to a small group of well-resourced manufacturers, will be a significant benefit to those working in UK aerospace. Now, through this online resource, UK suppliers will be able to understand more about how the technology they develop will impact the overall performance of representative narrow and wide-bodied aircraft.

In this short video, Dr Alice Stitt, Technologist within the Institute’s Whole Aircraft team, provides an introduction to the benefits and use of the Fixed Trade Calculator:

More information on the Fixed Trade Calculator, and details on how to apply for access, can be found here.