GKN Aerospace2008-07-13 14:20:30

GKN Aerospace invests in ECM technology to meet market growth.

GKN Aerospace is positioning itself to meet future demand for engine components by extending its electrochemical machining (ECM) capability and technology. The Company has a world lead in this through its 2007 acquisition of Teleflex Aerospace Manufacturing Group (TAMG).

Mike Beck, CEO and President, Propulsion Systems & Special Products, explains "ECM is a core capability for us. Products manufactured using this process offer real benefits in reducing the parts count and engine weight as well as improving the structural integrity and efficiency of the engine - all critical factors for airlines and operators today. We are investing extensively in this capability in order to grow our capacity, improve the technology and refine our processes to create more cost effective solutions for a growing market."

Beck continues: "The integrated bladed rotors or "blisk" market in particular is one where we expect to experience increasing demand. Today many engines are being designed with blisks - and they are being employed in more stages throughout the engine. As a result, this market is one that conservative estimates predict will see around 400% growth in the next 5 - 6 years."

ECM will create precise, compound shapes from advanced alloys regardless of how hard the material. It is one of the key manufacturing processes involved in creating components such as blisks, combustor cases, outlet guide vanes and compressor blades and vanes. The manufactured parts are very consistent with close tolerances and require few additional machining operations. Typically using ECM will also reduce the requirement for mechanical assembly of one part to another. The process involves the use of a cathode and an electrolyte fluid, and the transfer of electricity from the part to the cathode.

GKN Aerospace has been manufacturing blisks for over 20 years, initially for military use, and more recently for commercial and industrial applications. Today the Company produces these items in steel, titanium and nickel, and in sizes up to 52" in diameter.

The Company is also the only supplier, globally, of one piece ECM manufactured Outlet Guide Vanes (OGV's), having designed and developed the specialised tooling and equipment to perform this task in-house. OGV's are already in production for high volume commercial programmes and are proving highly successful in operation.

For more information contact:
East Cowes
Isle of Wight
PO32 6RA
United Kingdom
Tel:     +44 (0)1983 283649


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