GKN Aerospace has signed a framework agreement with Swedish technology firm Semcon, which will provide advice and assistance to UK-based GKN across a variety of areas. News of the agreement was made public earlier this week.
Aerospace components producer GKN is seeking to speed its design and production processes, according to Ingvar Gillgren, Semcon’s department manager for product information. GKN has “a lot of projects going on and coming up,” Gillgren told Avionics International in an interview. “They are catching up from the pandemic.”
Semcon will offer assistance with design elements of GKN components, as well as providing simulations and calculations regarding new and ongoing GKN projects. It will also assist in software development and aftermarket solutions.
Semcon works with companies in different sectors, including rail and telecom, and Gillgren said the tech company can bring experience and lessons learned across industries to GKN’s aerospace work.
“We bring our experiences from other industries and other customer cases,” he explained. “I will say when it comes to the aftermarket, we have very much experience in other industries and will develop offerings [to GKN] based on that. A very specific area is digitalization. There is quite a huge push now to digitalize the distribution of information.”
Digitizing data related to GKN’s aftermarket services is a goal of the partnership. “From a legal perspective, [GKN] has to document a lot,” Gillgren said. “When you are responsible for the aftermarket servicing of aircraft engines, for instance, it is very intensive in terms of tracking and documenting information. We can bring experience in this area.”
With 38 manufacturing locations in 12 countries, GKN provides an array of systems and engine components to aircraft and aircraft engine manufacturers. The company’s latest product agreement is a contract with ArianeGroup to manufacture and supply turbines and nozzles for 14 Ariane 6 rocket launch systems over the next three years.
“GKN Aerospace values the experience Semcon has amassed through working in many different sectors,” GKN Aerospace Sweden head of procurement Mikael Karlsson said. “New perspectives is an important aspect in our selection of collaborative partners.”
Semcon’s Gillgren said sustainability will be a focus of the company’s work with GKN. “One of the key areas to find solutions for is lightweight materials and components, going from the design phase through the progression to manufacturing,” he explained. “So, if you think of sustainability, reducing fuel consumption is critical, and I will say the development of lightweight components is something that we’ll definitely be able to contribute to.”
Regarding sustainability, GKN in December entered into a consortium supported by the European Union Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking to work towards developing water-enhanced and hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft. The goal of this consortium is to reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft by up to 25%.
The agreement between GKN and Semcon, initiated in December, “runs indefinitely,” according to Semcon. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
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