A new academic-industrial partnership has been launched to develop cutting-edge lower-emissions technology and grow the UK’s share of the global aerospace market.
The £22.5m project, known as I-Break (Landing Gear Industrial Breakthroughs), is a collaboration between a world-leading aircraft OEM and 15 other partners, from industry leaders to small businesses, academics, and research organisations. For the first time, it will develop and manufacture major landing gear structural components, currently produced using large forgings, with innovative techniques such as additive manufacture, powder hot isostatic pressing and composite, to reduce the aircraft time to market and reduce industrial CO2 footprint by 30%.
I-Break is being delivered through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme and is being funded from a larger UK government initiative in which £218m has been allocated to ground-breaking R&D aerospace projects, supporting jobs and growth across the country. The joint commitment with industry to invest in new aircraft and manufacturing technologies is set to help secure at least £20bn of further private investment in aerospace in the UK and support over 100,000 jobs. This delivers on Rishi Sunak’s commitment to grow the economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country.
Gary Elliott, CEO of the Aerospace Technology Institute said: “The investment through the ATI Programme that the Industry Minister, Nusrat Ghani announced at the Paris Air Show will support a range of world-class research projects in technologies to improve the sustainability of aerospace, from new design processes to new materials.”
WAAM3D’s role is around industrialization of higher productivity WAAM variants; control of microstructure and mechanical properties for high-integrity structural applications; industrialisation of on-line non-destructive-testing techniques; and production of demonstrator parts of relevant size and complexity on its upgraded RoboWAAM® systems.
The I-Break project includes several work-packages. In WAAM3D’s, the other partners are:
● Cranfield University – a wholly postgraduate university based in Bedfordshire, working on novel WAAM processes and solutions, and on the validation of deposition of new alloys of key interest.
● The University of Strathclyde – home to 23,000 students from 10,000 countries, working on innovative on-line non-destructive-testing techniques.
● Peak NDT – a world-leading designer and manufacturer of high performance conventional and phased-array ultrasonic instrumentation, working on on-line non-destructive-testing hardware systems.
The I-Break project is currently due to be completed in 2026.