As part of the development of its aerospace business, GKN has opened a new £14.8 million aerospace facility on the Isle of Wight, UK, to research environmental lightweight fan (ELF) blade production.

The ELF programme is being undertaken by GKN Aerospace and Rolls-Royce and plans to develop new engine fan blade technologies to meet major international business opportunities, including  upgrades to existing aircraft and engines as well as entirely new airframe programmes.
“This new facility [...] is a key part of our commitment to creating a global centre of excellence for aero-engine components and structures within GKN Aerospace,” said Rich Oldfield, technical director at GKN Aerospace.
 The development stage of ELF will be completed by 2012 with processes proven. At that time GKN Aerospace will focus on production and the detailed optimisation of the manufacturing process.
GKN Aerospace and Rolls-Royce are being supported in this development by the South of England Economic Development Agency (SEEDA). In a matched funding exercise, SEEDA is investing £7.4 million to support the partner companies and the technology base in the South of England.