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Spirit AeroSystems opens new aerospace innovation centre
Spirit AeroSystems has opened its new state-of-the-art Aerospace Innovation Centre (AIC) in Prestwick. The AIC will explore new, more efficient approaches to the design and manufacture of aerostructures such as wings, using lightweight composite material technology to reduce flight emissions and lower costs.
Covering 90,000 square feet, the centre of excellence will be capable of manufacturing components of up to 20 metres in length. It features 55,000 square feet of manufacturing space, a materials lab, and office and conference space to accommodate over 200 people. The centre will also be open to companies in other sectors undertaking similar research into composite solutions, such as those in the automotive or renewable energy sectors.
The £28m facility was supported with a £4.8m research and development infrastructure grant from Scottish Enterprise.
Scott McLarty, senior vice-president and general manager – Airbus, Spirit AeroSystems, said: “For true innovation to occur, we need a diverse range of ideas and collaboration from a number of areas across the spectrum of research and development.
“As one of the UK’s leading aerospace companies, Spirit Europe is proud to establish a collaborative space where we, with our partners in industry and education, will work together to develop new technologies that are competitive and sustainable for aerospace platforms of the future. Today, we are another step closer to achieving our ambition to become a diversified design and manufacturing champion.”
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, added: “This investment from Spirit AeroSystems, at a time of considerable challenge for the aerospace sector globally, is an endorsement of Scotland’s engineering and manufacturing capability and it will complement existing facilities, such as the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS).
“As well as improving the efficiency of aircraft parts, and the way they are manufactured, this facility has the potential to enable growth for industry-leading aerospace innovations and create more high-value manufacturing jobs over the next decade. We are focused on building a stronger, sustainable and inclusive economy, with new, high quality, green jobs, and Scotland’s aerospace sector with the highly-skilled workforce it employs is an integral part of that.”
Adrian Gillespie, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, concluded: “The AIC brings together all the key ingredients of innovation – world class expertise and facilities in a collaborative, diverse and open environment. This is an exciting time for advanced manufacturing in Scotland and Scottish Enterprise looks forward to working closely with Spirit, their partners and manufacturers across the country to make the most of the opportunity this centre creates to develop new ideas, products and sustainable jobs.”