GKN Aerospace & University of Sheffield Establish Research Chair to Spur AM Research

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GKN AerospaceGKN Aerospace and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) have established the GKN Aerospace RAEng Chair in Additive Manufacture and Advanced Structural Metallics, a five-year-long research chair which will be based at the University of Sheffield.

uniThe chair will focus on harnessing, and developing, the potential of additive manufacturing for aerospace and high-value industrial applications.

Russ Dunn, the Senior Vice President for Engineering and Technology for GKN, says additive manufacturing technologies mark a “paradigm shift in engineering design and materials,” and he’s particularly interested in the technology’s ability to prevent waste.

“We will be able to create previously impossible or totally uneconomical shapes, with little or no material wastage, and in the longer term we will be able to develop completely new materials and structures fully optimised for the role they perform,” Dunn says. “This new chair will build on GKN’s existing developments in additive manufacture and will sit at the heart of work to ensure UK industry continues to be a pioneering force in this global revolution in engineering.”

The GKN Aerospace RAEng Chair in Additive Manufacture and Advanced Structural Metallics is set for three principle drives.

  1. Assisting in the industrialization process of the latest state-of-the art technology
  2. Developing technology that can integrate materials and processes to extend the application potential of additive manufacturing
  3. Creating new, innovative materials and processes to build beyond current capabilities moving forward
Professor Iain Todd

Professor Iain Todd

Professor Iain Todd has been nominated for the new position. Todd, recognized as an academic researcher in processing and alloys, has led research into additive manufacture techniques at the University of Sheffield since 2006. He’s also been a driving force at Mercury Centre, the university’s manufacturing research facility.

The Mercury Centre’s AM research portfolio includes the Aerospace Technology Institute, £15M Horizon Programme, and collaborative research projects with the Culham Centre for Fusion Engineering and CERN.

The current university AM research portfolio includes work on the Aerospace Technology Institute-supported £15M Horizon Programme (led by GKN Aerospace), as well as collaborative research with the Culham Centre for Fusion Engineering and CERN, among other organizations.

Todd says the appointment from GKN Aerospace and the Royal Academy of Engineering will help drive “disruptive manufacturing technology” forward.

“This is a very exciting time for advanced manufacturing and materials research in the UK,” Todd says. “My role will be to strengthen the link between industry and academia in these fields, and to transfer the engineering and scientific breakthroughs at the University level to industrial practice helping to drive productivity and competitiveness.”

The newly established Chair will be supported by a combined £1 million investment from GKN Aerospace, the University of Sheffield, and the RAEng, for five years. GKN Aerospace’s investment also supports PhD and EngD programs, including funding for 10 PhD students to support the Chair and more than 20 senior research staff in place at the University of Sheffield now.

What impact do you think programs like this between private industry and academia will have on the future of additive manufacturing? Let us know in the GKN Aerospace and Sheffield University forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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