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Composites

Velocity in $100 million US deal

Company anticipates a step change in the use of carbon fibre in aircraft structures to improve fuel efficiency.

28th December 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Fareham, United Kingdom

Transport/​Aerospace

Velocity Composites, based in Fareham, UK, is entering the US market following an agreement with GKN Aerospace that will be worth more than $100 million in revenue over five years.

To support the expansion into international markets, the company is esatblishing its first site outside the UK – a 40,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility near to the GKN site in Alabama.

It will build and supply all the composite material kits for GKN’s aerostructure and has been upgraded to the required clean room standard. It includes Velocity’s proprietary digital technology and latest manufacturing systems, covering a diverse range of high-performance composite structures across military, civil and business jet programmes.

Work on the facility is at an advanced stage, and it is expected that site approvals and first article tests will be completed by the end of February 2023, followed by volume production. Velocity plans to train and employ up to 30 local staff, supported initially by existing staff from the UK.

The collaboration with GKN – a global leader in the use of composite materials in engineered aerospace structures – uses Velocity’s advanced VRP technology and supply chain services to support GKN’s sustainability and efficiency objectives, assisting the aerospace industry’s push to achieving significant environmental and sustainability improvements.

 “This is a major milestone for Velocity as we make a permanent entry into the US market and expand our long-standing relationship with GKN,” said chairman Andy Beaden. “During the pandemic, we worked hard to deepen our relationships with clients and further invest in our technology to prepare for the recovery.

 “We believe this agreement will be part of a long-term positive trend from which Velocity will benefit, as customers look to recover from the pandemic and achieve new and improved ways of working, with a key focus on sustainability, as production rates increase to pre-pandemic levels. We expect a step change in the use of carbon fibre in aircraft structures to improve fuel efficiency and deliver greater sustainability in the move to net zero. We believe this will increase the adoption of Velocity’s technology and services to improve manufacturing efficiencies and inventory supply lead times.”

Velocity’s new operation in Alabama. © Velocity Composites

The agreement builds on Velocity’s long-standing relationship with GKN which started in 2015 and includes existing contracts at three of GKN’s UK sites in Bristol, Luton and the Isle of Wight.

The company’s structural material kits provide full ply generation, shape management and configuration control utilising the latest cutting, nesting and identification equipment. Materials can include woven fabrics, unidirectional fabrics, impregnated metallic meshes and film adhesives, and can be sourced from any raw material supplier or combination of suppliers.

Velocity’s experience has shown that customers with an on-site ply cutting capability find themselves having to schedule it to match their production requirements rather than to achieve the best material utilisation. Velocity is fully de-coupled from any day-to-day internal issues within customer production areas and can better focus on material efficiency – often achieving double digit percentage gains while freeing up valuable cleanroom floor space and trained labour in customer cleanroom areas.

 “British expertise is central to levelling up sectors vital to global commerce and security, like advanced manufacturing,” said the UK’s Minister for Investment Lord Dominic Johnson. “This agreement is another demonstration of the flourishing composite industry across our innovative Northern Powerhouse, which provides economic growth and delivers innovation overseas. The government will continue to encourage British companies from all sectors to seize opportunities that lie across the pond, as part of the historic UK-US trading relationship.”

www.velocity-composites.com

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