GKN Aerospace announced to its employees last week that it would be investing £11m into their East Cowes facility. GKN say the investment will be used to improve the site’s position “as a Centre of Excellence for advanced composite structures, with a focus on automated manufacturing processes, high volume and complex products, across both commercial aerospace and strategic military work”.
Including in the plans are to implement a number of commodity non-core processes. Some of the loss-making work packages will leave the site, while new specialist work packages are being lined up to come in.
Garry Hernes, General Manager of the facility explained:
“This £11m investment is great news for the site. It will help us focus on the complex and specialist work we are really good at, and ensure we are fit for the future.
“It will also mean the Isle of Wight retains its place at the forefront of advanced aerospace systems and that GKN Aerospace will continue to underpin the Island’s economy and employment for years to come.”
Plans to change the Composite Research Centre (CRC) into a Technology Insertion Centre (TIC) will speed up the time from technology breakthroughs to high-rate production.
Speaking to OnTheWight, Steve Butler, Isle of Wight Trades Union Council spokesperson said,
“The IOWTUC welcome GKN £11 Million investment and commitment to the Isle of Wight.”
“The global aerospace industry is highly competitive, with customers always looking for price reductions and the rates on some key platforms declining. This puts real pressure on sites like Cowes and we need to make sure we are ready for the next 25 years and more.
“Being able to take the best technology from GKN Aerospace’s global footprint, and then smoothly integrating it into our complex manufacturing environment here in Cowes can set us apart and put in a great position to not just survive, but to thrive and grow.
“Combined, these changes will ensure our Cowes site is better able to serve our customers today and will position us to succeed for the long-term.”