GKN Aerospace has established a new composites manufacturing facility in Mexico. The new 80,000 square foot Mexicali composite manufacturing facility is expected to employ over 100 staff by 2017 and will manufacture composite airframe structures. The site’s first products will be structures manufactured for the Sikorsky BLACK HAWK helicopter, with first parts scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2012.
Commencing with the Sikorsky BLACK HAWK work package, further production work will be transferred to the new site over time, with almost all staff recruited locally and trained in the range of manufacturing skills required to produce structures for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
The new Mexicali composite manufacturing facility will provide direct manufacturing support to the company’s Alabama operation which has multiplied its annual sales by 500 percent over the last decade and is continuing to see additional growth. The Alabama site provides aerostructures for customers such as Sikorsky, GE, HondaJet and Airbus.
Marcus Bryson, CEO and President, GKN Aerospace and GKN Land Systems explains: “The new composites operation will extend our very successful Mexico production activities and will play a key role in supporting Sikorsky and other major customers in the long term. The skills we will develop in our new Mexicali team will grow the valuable expertise we have in the country and help us extend our aerostructures business by manufacturing consistently high quality components at a very competitive cost to our customers.”
“Mexico is a strategically important country for us, and this move by GKN to place BLACK HAWK helicopter component work in-country coincides with our plans to increase our presence and work content in Mexico,” said Steve Estill, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Sikorsky.
The new site will be situated in the PIMSA industrial park. PIMSA is the oldest full service Industrial Developer in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. PIMSA’s General Director, Francisco J. Fiorentini, comments: “We welcome GKN Composite Structures to Mexicali as the fifth aerospace company in the PIMSA group. We’re very pleased to contribute to the continuing development of the aerospace sector in Baja, California with more than 50 companies in the State and comprising some 25% of the total aerospace companies in Mexico.”
The Mayor of Mexicali, Mr. Francisco Perez-Tejada Padilla, who has been very active in Mexicali’s economic development, states: “Mexicali is very glad that GKN has decided to bring a new division to town. Companies that choose our city as their manufacturing location and decide to expand are the best evidence of the City’s competitiveness and quality of life. We have a very skilled labor force, a strategic geographic location, a safe environment, among other competitive advantages. Composite materials are part of the future of the aviation industry; Mexicali is proud to be the new home of GKN’s composites manufacturing activity.”
The new plant extends the GKN Aerospace’s established operations in Mexico, adding a third facility. The company’s established plants manufacture engine fan cases, containment cases, fan ducts and shroud assemblies for major aero-engine primes such as Honeywell, GE, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and Allison.