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Composites

Funding of almost £40 million for ASCEND consortium

Consortium will bring together expertise, capabilities and resources from across the wider UK aerospace and automotive supply chain.

15th March 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  United Kingdom

Transport/​Aerospace

ASCEND – Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development – is a major new UK consortium with a focus on the adoption and industrialisation of new lightweight composite technologies and accelerating production rates to meet future high-volume requirements.

Convened by innovation management specialist Axillium, it brings together 15 industry partners led by GKN Aerospace and has secured a £20 million commitment from industry and £19.6 million in funding from the UK Government via the ATI Programme. 

The UK is a leader in the development of new composite materials needed for more sustainable forms of transportationThe UK is a leader in the development of new composite materials needed for more sustainable forms of transportationThe UK is a leader in the development of new composite materials needed for more sustainable forms of transportation

The UK is a leader in the development of new composite materials needed for more sustainable forms of transportation

Through a three-year commitment, the consortium will bring together expertise, capabilities and resources from across the wider UK aerospace and automotive supply chain.

GKN Aerospace will use its long-term experience and in-depth knowledge of composite engineering for integrated airframe structures, and is joined by partners Assyst Bullmer, Airborne, Cobham Mission Systems Wimborne, Cygnet Texkimp, Des Composites, FAR-UK, Hexcel Composites, Hive Composites, LMAT, Loop Technology, McLaren Automotive, the National Composites Centre, Rafinex, Sigmatex and Solvay Composite Materials.

© ASCEND

The consortium will be led from GKN Aerospace’s £32 million Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Bristol and will support up to 130 jobs through 2023/24, with a goal of creating up to 729 UK jobs by 2035.

“Axillium has been instrumental in bringing the ASCEND consortium together, and access to its network has enabled an exciting multi-sector collaboration,” said GKN’s head of ecosystems in the UK David Brodie. “Using its e-Volution framework to bring stakeholders together, Axillium enables organisations to pool resources and unlock common challenges.”

“The future of sustainable transport will depend on the availability of super light-weight structures for aerospace, air mobility, and automotive applications,” added Axillium executive chairman Will Searle. “The UK is a leader in the development of new composite materials needed for more sustainable forms of transportation and has the world-class engineering and manufacturing know-how to bring these materials to market in volume. To succeed in this nascent market and help meet the government’s Net Zero goals, the UK must foster new industrial partnerships – that will require new multi-partner models of innovation like ASCEND.”

www.axillium.com

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