GKN Aerospace is here at Farnborough with news that it is working to develop new technologies, materials and processes, and to determine how they may be used over the next decade. Composites constitute a major area of materials development, a spokesman said, notably to drive down costs and increase the speed of manufacture. Damage protection and repair techniques will also become increasingly important for composites structures, while there is considerable scope for expanding their use in structures and engines.
Regarding metallic structures, GKN is researching a range of ideas, such as robotics, cutting and joining processes and machining, with the aim of reducing material consumption by some 50 percent while improving speed and quality, especially in the engines sector. It also is highlighting niche developments, such as ice-protection research using fiberoptics, improved electrothermal techniques and detection technologies.
Coatings are another area in which GKN Aerospace has expertise, and the company is researching various coatings that could offer benefits in terms of ice-phobic performance and damage detection, as well as dimmable and conductive coatings for transparencies. GKN Aerospace is also investigating acoustic liners and other technologies to reduce engine noise, in line with the 50-percent reduction target laid out by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe.