One industry in which Britain has been exceptionally strong in is their Aerospace Industry. They have excelled within the field for decades, going all the way back to the 1940’s and World War II. This is evident by a newspaper clip from ‘The Argus,’ a Melbourne, Australia based media outlet, no longer in publication. Just months prior to the war ending, on June 28th, 1945, the paper put out an article, touting the strength of the British aircraft industry. At the same time, however, they expressed some doubt toward its future. As military use for aircraft would soon come to a screeching halt, where would future demand come from?
Despite the ending of the war, Britain’s lead within the industry continued to flourish, thanks to explosive interest in passenger aircraft. Today Britain’s aerospace industry could be seen in similar a light as it was back in 1945. On one hand, it is incredibly strong, however, on the other hand there is competition coming from all over, including China and the United States. What will allow them to continue to flourish? If you were to ask this question to Nick Clegg, Britain’s Deputy PM, he would tell you that they have found the solution.
Today Clegg visited the Farnborough International Airshow, where he unveiled a government plan to invest £154 million into several aerospace research projects. The funding, which is part of a £2 billion investment by the government and industry to help secure crucial jobs within Britain, can be broken down into four areas; wings, engines, aircraft structures, and radio.
The category of aircraft ‘structures’ is the most interesting, at least to us, not only because it has to do with 3D printing, but also because it was the category in which the most funding was earmarked for. Under the plan, £49 million will be used for a GKN Aerospace-led project which will research methods of 3D printing light weight, metallic, structural parts for aircraft.
“The UK’s aerospace industry is going from strength to strength and helping our economic recovery. We are the number one aerospace industry in Europe and second only to the United States globally. I want to ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of aerospace innovation, which is why I am pleased to announce that we are investing £154 million for research to explore new technologies like the 3D printing of plane parts and creating lighter, greener aircraft,” stated Clegg.
GKN Aerospace has in excess of 100 years of aerospace experience. They currently employ over 12,000 people across the globe, and specialize in composite and metallic aircraft assemblies / structures.
Like we mentioned above, Britain is already one of the leaders within this industry. Clearly the fact that the United States, which is actually the largest aerospace manufacturer in the world, is also the world’s leader when it comes to additive manufacturing technology, may have helped convince the government that this was the right way to divide the funding.
Will this investment by Britain spur other nations to invest further into additive manufacturing technologies, in order to keep pace? Let’s hear your opinions in the Britain aerospace forum thread on 3DPB.com.