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2 minute read

GKN Aerospace announces £11m investment in Cowes site

GKN Aerospace, the largest private employer on the Isle of Wight, has announced an £11m investment in its Cowes facility over the next two years.

The investment will enhance the site’s position as a Centre of Excellence for advanced composite structures, with a focus on automated manufacturing processes, high volume and complex products, across both commercial aerospace and strategic military work.

The site has been a fixture on the Isle of Wight for 100 years and it has been owned by GKN Aerospace for the past 25 years. This new investment in buildings and layout, smart technologies and engineering equipment represent a significant commitment to remain on the Island for decades to come.

GKN Aerospace has announced an £11m investment at its Cowes facility – the firm employs around 1,000 people of the Isle of Wight / Picture: GKN Aerospace


In order to focus the site on advanced composite production, a number of commodity, non-core processes and some loss-making work packages will leave the site, while new specialist work packages are being lined up to come in.

Garry Hernes, General Manager of the facility said: “This £11m investment is great news for the site. It will help us focus on the complex and specialist work we are really good at, and ensure we are fit for the future.

“It will also mean the Isle of Wight retains its place at the forefront of advanced aerospace systems and that GKN Aerospace will continue to underpin the Island’s economy and employment for years to come.”

GKN Aerospace also confirmed that it will transform its Composite Research Centre (CRC) on the Island into a Technology Insertion Centre (TIC) for the Cowes site, in order to speed up the time from technology breakthroughs to high-rate production.

The TIC will ensure the latest ground-breaking composite technology developments – drawn from GKN Aerospace’s world-leading network of Global Technology Centres – are smoothly integrated into the Cowes manufacturing site, allowing it to offer unique solutions for its customers.

Mr Hernes added: “The global aerospace industry is highly competitive, with customers always looking for price reductions and the rates on some key platforms declining. This puts real pressure on sites like Cowes and we need to make sure we are ready for the next 25 years and more.

“Being able to take the best technology from GKN Aerospace’s global footprint, and then smoothly integrating it into our complex manufacturing environment here in Cowes can set us apart and put in a great position to not just survive, but to thrive and grow.

“Combined, these changes will ensure our Cowes site is better able to serve our customers today and will position us to succeed for the long-term.”

Globally, GKN Aerospace has 50 sites in 15 countries, employing 17,000 around the world, around 1,000 of which are based on the Isle of Wight.