UK Government, Boeing and partners announce £80m manufacturing investment

Boeing has joined forces with UK partners and the British Government in one of the UK’s largest ever advanced manufacturing investments, to develop and test pioneering new composite manufacturing technologies.

Announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, the £80 million investment by government and industry is aimed at revolutionising aerospace manufacturing and creating thousands of highly skilled UK jobs.

The announcement was made as the Chancellor launched the first Investment Zone in South Yorkshire. Twelve Investment Zones will be established across the UK based around a university and clusters of high growth industries like advanced manufacturing, life sciences or green technology. 

The Chancellor said: “Our first Investment Zone is a shining example of how we will drive growth across the country by focusing on key industries that bring good jobs and new opportunity. It’s already attracted £80 million of investment, including backing from Boeing and as more join the zone, it will help support more than 8,000 jobs by 2030.”

The Boeing-led project, known as Isothermic High-Rate Sustainable Structures (IHSS) and

funded through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, will centre around automated dry fibre and resin infusion advanced manufacturing methods, which will achieve high manufacturing rates and increase production efficiency.

The project will initially create around 50 jobs in South Yorkshire and, based on existing and forecasted aircraft demand, has the potential to create 3,000 UK jobs long-term, and around £2 billion annually in export opportunities.

Worldwide, Boeing invests more than £2.3 billion annually in research and development, building capabilities to transform the future of aerospace, and contracts with more than 11,000 suppliers. Boeing spends over £19 million annually across Europe on aerospace research and development, with more than £100 million spent on UK innovation since 2015.

"This project is a testament to Boeing’s global commitment to drive innovation and growth within the local communities in which we are proud to live and work," said Maria Laine, president of Boeing for the UK, Ireland & Nordics. "Together with our world-leading industry partners, this investment is poised to revolutionise aerospace manufacturing to meet global demand, while supporting vital jobs and growth in the UK.”

Boeing - as lead partner on IHSS - will provide project oversight, leadership and technical support. The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) will establish the Compass (Composites at Speed and Scale) facility in Sheffield to house the research. Spirit AeroSystems will advance stringer preform fabrication and inspection technologies, and will be responsible for performing all of the part inspections and factory modelling from their facility in Prestwick, while Loop Technology based in Dorset will offer cutting-edge automated solutions for composite handling, assembly, and inspection.

The benefits of these advancements could also extend beyond the aerospace sector, with applications in marine, renewable energy, transportation, and other high-production-rate industries.

Gary Elliott, chief executive officer, Aerospace Technology Institute, said: “Lightweight composite structures will play a critical role in developing next-generation aircraft that are more fuel efficient, which will be essential for achieving Net Zero targets by 2050. We are pleased to support the Boeing project, alongside our investment in the AMRC’s Compass project, which will keep the UK at the forefront of developing and manufacturing lightweight high-rate composite aerostructures.”

Steve Foxley, chief executive officer at the AMRC said: “This is a landmark moment for the AMRC and the South Yorkshire region, helping unlock economic potential for the region through new opportunities in technology and innovation, employment and investment, supply chains, skills development and training. Building on the long-standing partnership with Boeing, Compass offers a step-change in large scale composite material capability and will continue to transform the UK manufacturing industry for a more sustainable and resilient tomorrow.”

Alun Reece, managing director of Loop Technology, said: “The opportunity to work with the teams at Boeing, Spirit and AMRC is exceptional, and recognition of the world leading automation capabilities Loop are able to bring to the programme. The positive impact this will have on the business, our supply chain and wider community is incredible and is another step towards realising our ambition of becoming a major player in the aerospace automation sector. We look forward with great excitement and enthusiasm to delivering the programme.”

Jahan Ali, director of research and technology Spirit AeroSystems Europe added: “This project expands our relationship with Boeing as it’s the first collaborative R&T project in the UK between the two companies and will leverage our experience in developing HiRate composites. Spirit is uniquely positioned to partner with emerging and established OEMs to advance material technologies and manufacturing processes to build what’s best in aerospace.”

Today's announcement builds on Boeing's strong ties to South Yorkshire, which began in 2001 when the company became a founding partner of the University of Sheffield AMRC, followed by the opening of the company's first European manufacturing site in Sheffield in 2018. Boeing's commitment to driving sustainable aviation fuels also led to its involvement as a founding member of the University of Sheffield’s Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) last year.

www.boeing.co.uk

Company

Boeing

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