Plane Talk AUTUMN 2023

Welcome to the latest edition of Plane Talk. Keeping you up-to-date with NWAA news, Member news and key dates for your diary.



Typhoon take-off

Also: An introduction to Troy | Sylatech signals growth with expansion into US markets | Airframe Designs seeking experienced engineers | Annual Ball 2023

NWAA Chairman’s autumn statement By Prof Andy Schofield

By Paula Gill NWAA Chief Exec’s autumn statement


02 Chairman’s statement

Welcome to Autumn, Did you hear...

Our next ESG events:

Program News

A very warm welcome to the latest edition of the Plane Talk Magazine. Since the last edition, life within the NWAA continues to be very busy. I think the two most significant activities in June were the visit to the Paris Airshow where key connections were made and the decision to have a presence at next year’s Farnborough International Airshow. This will be the first time since 2018 that the NWAA will have a stand at the Airshow, and it will provide a great opportunity for our members to showcase their capabilities. Look out for more details shortly of how to get involved. Another activity that has been ongoing is the Membership Survey. Your feedback and views are extremely important to us as we continue to focus on the main purpose of the NWAA, which is to deliver value to every member of the North West Aerospace Alliance by providing the opportunity to network, collaborate and promote their capabilities both in the UK and Internationally to increase future business opportunities. The initial feedback from the survey has provided us with a number of aspects to follow up on and areas to focus on. If you have not yet had chance to provide your feedback or not received the survey I would encourage you to contact the membership team membership@aerospace., as I am very keen to hear the voice and opinions of our membership. As I mentioned in the last edition of Plane Talk, we are actively looking to increase our membership. This has grown by nearly 25% over the last year and is a positive indication of helping to build a strong network and community. I continue to encourage new companies to see how they can benefit from membership of the NWAA.

Progress continues to be made on the contracted work. The Lancashire Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Watchtower Programme is progressing well, and a great piece of work has been completed by the Sector Growth task force group, which aims to ensure the Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Sector in the North West is at the forefront of future market opportunities, such as Nuclear, Space and Hydrogen as well as the established sectors, such as Aerospace and Defence and Automotive. Also, together with the IN4 Group, the skills bootcamp programme, aimed at developing digital skills in our regional supply chain, is taking shape. The future is bright, and the opportunities are there, however, there are several challenges that need to be overcome. I continue to remain positive in helping to drive the Aerospace and Defence Industry in the North West forward. Finally, I’d like to give a big shout out to one of our NWAA Board Members, Jeff Cheetham, who successfully completed the National 3 Peaks Challenge in July. Considered to be one of Britain’s toughest outdoor challenges, Jeff and the team climbed Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon in under 24 hours. A fantastic achievement for a great charitable cause.

Airbus, Broughton BAE, Samlesbury

October 19th November 24th

The Watchtower program continues to be a great success and has caught the attention of the UK. It is being talked about around meeting tables in the capital and across other regions and particularly in the OEM’s, some of whom have interacted with businesses during the program. The businesses who are actively in the program are being identified as the future supply chain for the AEM sector and many new business/work opportunities and support for funding amongst other benefits have been won. It is great to see so many businesses embracing the actions from the program and reaping the rewards. There is still time to join the Watchtower if you have not benefitted from it already and I would love to see how many of you we can show case at the end of program first Celebration evening. SCS is now underway, and you will soon see the information start rolling out from us and across the UK. The self-assessment tool link will shortly be hosted on our website and our assessors will be ready to help support you on the journey to supply chain excellence. I look forward to seeing you soon, and remember my door is always open and my phone is always on.

03 CEO’s statement

WE ARE GOING TO FARNBOROUGH!! But first let me give you a couple of updates... Following a very successful summer period (albeit wet for most of us), it has been an incredibly busy period. We continue to build on our member relationships and are very happy with the attendances at the networking events such as the Mix and Mingle that have taken place. There have been many connections made and opportunities created at these events, so we will continue with these activities moving forward with the next Mix & Mingle event coming up at Airbus Broughton site with our Welsh colleagues on 19th October. This will directly follow the NWAA ESG #3 event hosted by Airbus on the same day. We are also in discussion to deliver the same opportunity with our other colleagues around the UK so I will keep you posted on these as they are agreed. The trip to Paris Airshow to meet some of our members and to create more opportunities in the Northern region was a great success. It was a pleasure to see the buoyancy of the industry and the excitement mounting, as activities and new orders ramped up throughout the week, with some great activities and wins for our regions businesses. We are following up on many discussions with members and primes whilst at the Paris airshow, to bring OEM’s and meet the buyer events to the region in the coming periods. Look out for these events! ESG and digitalization remains a key focus too, and through great collaboration with the Primes, our members have the opportunity to have firsthand information and support on what is coming next in the sustainability journey and how we can all work together to meet these industry needs, challenges and changes.

04 Members’ News

Do not forget to go to the website and book yourselves onto these events, they are already filling up fast! Did I mention... WE ARE GOING TO FARNBOROUGH!! Very exciting news, NWAA have now booked a stand at Farnborough International Airshow. We have partnered with Composites UK to enable us to have a great stand for our members to showcase their businesses capabilities and will ensure that buyers are coming to meet you on the stand throughout the week. The pods have already started to be booked by some early birds and our intention is that the stand design allows all the pods to be visible to visitors and meetings are encouraged and catered for. We are very excited by the interest in regions businesses, and I will personally be arranging Prime interactions for pod holders only, on the stand on a daily basis. If the world wants to meet the best, then I will be showing them where to come! If you are interested in joining us on the stand at Farnborough, please contact the team as soon as possible membership@aerospace. We will work on a first come, first served principle to make sure everyone has the chance to select their pod early.

15 Black Tie Charity Ball

16 Members’ News

18 NWAA News

19 Save the date

20 Annual Ball 23

Prof Andy Schofield NWAA Chairman

Paula Gill NWAA Chief Exec

It’s nearly time for ‘The Annual Ball’

The Annual Ball promises to be very exciting this year. We are trying out a new venue at Crow Wood Hotel and Spa. A fantastic location if you are looking to have an extra day with a loved one relaxing in the fabulous Spa the day after an amazing night full of music and laughter at the Ball. More information will follow, but booking has started in earnest and tables, tickets and sponsorship are already selling fast, so do not miss this one, it promises to be very well attended ANNUAL BALL.


Please forward all content for future editions of Plane Talk to our editor at Freshfield, Paul Tustin.


01772 888400



plane talk /summer 2023


plane talk summer 2023

The NWAA welcomes the following new members…

Member News

Member News

Gas compression manufacturer increasing productivity at site in the UK using automated manufacturing solutions A UK based innovator and manufacturer of high-pressure compression technology, has greatly reduced scrap parts from their production process and increased their productivity, with the introduction of MSP’s automated solutions to their 5-axis CNC machining process.

It produces automatic ‘benchmark’ reports which pinpoint exactly where the machine is under-performing, allowing Vert Technologies to identify where any problems lie and rectify them before any machining begins. Nicol explains, “The benchmarking of the machine functionality was great as it instantly showed us where our machine inaccuracy was, and showed how accurate it could be, if the machine was working to its full potential.” Next, MSP focused on solving the company’s fixturing and alignment issues to stop the rotors from being machined off-centre. NC- PartLocator software was installed on the CNC machine using standardised nominal programs. Vert Technologies was now able to automate part setup and automatically calculate accurate alignments for each machining operation. This removed the need for time-consuming manual alignments and shifting of datums that Vert Technologies’ highly skilled personnel had to perform to achieve the necessary accuracy required for their parts. “With the introduction of MSP’s 5-axis automation software, not only have all the manual steps been removed, but we can now check everything before cutting the part. This has resolved many of the problems that previously resulted in non-conforming parts,” comments Nicol. By diagnosing the errors in Vert Technologies’ 5-axis CNC machining process and automating each stage to remove the introduction of manual error, the company has seen their non-conformance rate go from 25% to near zero. Before MSP’s solutions were introduced, run out of parts could be up to as much as 120μm, and over the required tolerance threshold to pass final inspection. This number is now down to as little as 25μm and well within tolerance. Nicol says: “The higher noise levels and lower performance we had been experiencing with the compressors stopped once the MSP software had been implemented. Using NC- Checker to diagnose and rectify the issues on our machine tool has also meant the machine parameters are the best we’ve ever seen. To have the confidence that our CNC machine tool is accurate and the parts it machines will be within tolerance and repeatable every time is invaluable.” The automation has also sped up production significantly as Nicol explains: “Significant time was spent using manual methods of trial and error: making a part, moving the datum, checking it and measuring it, until the part was

within spec. Using MSP, this process now only takes a few minutes”.


Additive Manufacturing Solutions Ltd

Adding automation to the alignment process has also provided many other benefits for Chief Operating Officer, Nicol: “Having MSP, and the automation it provides in aligning the part, reduces the number of personnel and resources needed on the shop floor. Senior engineers no longer need to be involved day to day - production can be successfully completed by any of our operators.” It was extremely important to Vert Technologies that they retained production of their conical rotor part in-house and, by implementing solutions from MSP, this was achieved: “We strive to be experts in producing our rotors and by keeping our manufacturing capability in-house we are in control of the learning that went into making our parts accurate,” explains Nicol. And the future of manufacturing certainly looks bright for the Vert Technologies team, who’s product is unique in the marketplace. “Our plan is to embed our technology into products such as heat pumps, HVAC, processed gas, gas capture and recompression equipment, where our USPs fit well with the end user requirements.” MSP has a long-standing reputation of saving its customers time and money. Margaret Toberty, MSP’s Director of Operations comments: “We are delighted with the results Vert Technologies has achieved by implementing our solutions in their process. Advanced, automated CNC techniques are imperative to the success and future of the industry, and companies like Vert Technologies are ahead of the curve compared to some of their much larger peers. They have such a fantastic product and it’s exciting for us to work with a small business like this who have such ambition.”


Buoyancy Aerospace


Environmental Roofing Services Limited

Excent UK

Gradient Business Services

Guidant Global

Hellios Information

Vert Technologies, based in Edinburgh, specialises in the design and manufacture of the patented, high pressure, Conical Rotary Compressor (CRC) technology. This unique product, invented and developed in-house, is supplied to key sectors such as refrigeration, heat pump and gas compression markets. This compressor technology offers a compact yet scalable compression solution, capable of delivering high pressures in a single stage without compromising on noise levels. It was during continual production of the compressors that the company realised manufacturing was wrong in their machining process. Vert Technologies’ main ambition was to find the cause of any errors in their production process to stop their rotor parts from being machined inaccurately, causing poor performance of the compressor. The company also wanted to reduce the number of manual procedures required, to improve accuracy and productivity throughout the production process.

that improving the part location, and ensuring the accuracy of the machine tool was key to minimising non-conformance, but were unsure of how to best put that into practice. We hoped MSP could help.” MSP, based in Northumberland, works to deliver high-accuracy automated machine- tool solutions to the manufacturing industry and have applied their precision measurement expertise to projects worldwide across various industries such as Aerospace, Formula 1 and Energy. Before MSP’s products were introduced to Vert Technologies’ process, a highly skilled operator would manually create a fixture, datum the fixture and machine the part. With a complex part design and limited metrology on the machine, this involved multiple steps and was extremely time-consuming to achieve the necessary accuracy. This, coupled with the human error caused by the manual elements, resulted in a vast amount of machine downtime and scrapped parts. There was also no simple way to test or adjust the accuracy of their machines to ensure they were operating to a high standard, as it

involved using complex machine kinematics and the use of advanced measuring tools before machining took place, increasing machine downtime even further. “We were seeing issues on different parts that were being produced on the same machine, which led us to believe the machine wasn’t working to the accuracy it should be. Producing simple conical and cylindrical test parts, without the complicated forms of the conical rotor part, showed there was an unaccounted for, taper along the Z axis of the machine tool. If the machine wasn’t able to produce simple forms accurately, it was never going to produce a more complex 3D-part perfectly”, explains Nicol. To solve Vert Technologies’ manufacturing problems, MSP firstly looked to diagnose the machine problems and investigate why the 5-axis CNC machine tool wasn’t capable of accurately machining even simple forms. To do this, the MSP engineering team installed NC- Checker software, part of MSP’s PerfectPart suite of solutions, onto the machine tool. This software ensures the machine tool’s geometric performance is accurate enough for the part to be machined correctly.



Nelson & Colne College Group

RKMS Group

For more information about Vert Technologies, visit:

Sylatech Limited

Trac Precision Solutions

For more information about MSP, visit:

Nicol Low, Chief Operating Officer at Vert Technologies, explains: “We were confident



plane talk autumn 2023


plane talk autumn 2023

Member News

Member News

Management buyout at Keighley Laboratories Limited The executive management team at Keighley Laboratories Limited has completed its acquisition of the company from the existing shareholders.

Multi-million pound contract to equip Royal Air Force Typhoons with latest advanced radar capabilities The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded BAE Systems a £870m contract to deliver a new radar to enhance the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Typhoon fighter jet fleet and strengthen the aircraft’s control of the airspace, whilst providing cutting-edge electronic warfare capabilities.

Managed by Debbie and Matthew Mellor, the management buyout (MBO) means that the husband and wife team takes ownership of the business outright. Founded in 1920, Keighley Laboratories provides advanced metallurgy testing, consultancy and chemical analytical solutions to sectors including aerospace, marine, defence, nuclear, energy and rail. The company provides services to local, national and global markets, and is one of the longest standing independent UKAS ISO 17025 laboratories. The MBO was led by the company’s existing managing director Debbie Mellor and technical services director Matthew Mellor and was supported by a new debt facility from NatWest, facilitated by Sanjoy Kundu, Senior Relationship Manager. Commenting on the company’s growth plans, Matthew Mellor, said: “We believe that the future is extremely positive for the company and we look forward to developing further the range of the services we offer. We have in place a growth strategy for the business and several strategic partnerships, which will help progress the business and bring greater opportunities. “We have recently gained Boeing D1-4426 status, marking us a quality supplier and has been a significant achievement in our strategic plan of maintaining and extending the scope of aerospace approvals”.

Debbie has served on the Bradford Chamber of Commerce Leadership Group for the last nine years, and has recently joined the West Yorkshire Manufacturing Advisory Board, a manufacturing task force initiative set up by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin. Keighley Labs is also a long-time supporter of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, and member of the Bradford and Airedale Manufacturing Alliance, with Debbie being vice-chair of the alliance. Commenting on the MBO, Debbie Mellor, said: “Myself and Matthew are passionate about the company. We have both worked in the business for over 30 years. Being managing director since 2007, this was the natural progression that was facilitated by the existing shareholders exiting the business. “We are keen to drive the business forward – providing quality technical metallurgical services from our team of experts whilst also ensuring continuity of service throughout the MBO” A team from law firm Gordons, led by corporate partner Duncan Firman and commercial property partner Nick Chamberlain, advised on the MBO, alongside Gavin Lamb from the Bradford office of accountancy firm Azets. Duncan Firman, said: “Keighley Laboratories is a long-standing client of Gordons. We are delighted to have been able to work with Debbie and the management team to secure completion of the transaction as part of the next phase of the company’s journey.”

“We have recently gained Boeing D1-4426 status”

The contract, awarded by the Ministry of Defence to BAE Systems, will see further development of technology and integration work on the European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk2 radar by BAE Systems and Leonardo UK. The work is expected to lead to initial flight testing in 2024. BAE Systems leads the overall design, development, manufacture and upgrade of the Typhoon aircraft for the UK and Leonardo is the lead for the aircraft’s main sensing and survivability systems including its radar and defensive aids sub-system. The contract is part of the UK Government announcement made in July 2022, to invest £2.35 billion in the continued technology advancements in Typhoon capabilities, as recognition of its long-term role supporting national security and defence priorities. Andrea Thompson, managing director at Europe & International at BAE Systems’ Air Sector, said: “Typhoon is a fantastic aircraft which continues to provide crucial support to defence and security operations around the world, including NATO air policing in Eastern Europe.

Typhoon is a highly capable and extremely agile multi-role combat aircraft. It is capable of being deployed for the full spectrum of air operations, including air policing, peace support and high-intensity conflict. The RAF Typhoons are deployed alongside F-35B Lightning II to provide frontline capability for the UK. The Typhoon programme supports more than 20,000 jobs across all regions of the UK every year, contributing £1.4 billion to the economy annually. The ECRS Mk2 radar programme sustains more than 600 highly-skilled jobs across the country, including more than 300 at Leonardo’s site in Edinburgh, more than 100 electronic warfare specialists at the company’s site in Luton, and 120 advanced engineers at BAE Systems’ site in Lancashire.

“The continued evolution of Typhoon as a world-class combat air platform ensures the RAF maintains its advantage and protects the vibrant eco-system that supports our sovereign combat air capability in the UK, through sustaining and evolving the technical skills central to the UK’s future combat air strategy.” Mark Hamilton, managing director at Electronics UK, Leonardo, said: “ The ECRS Mk2 Radar programme will deliver world leading capabilities developed by our skilled engineers in both Edinburgh and Luton. “We are extremely proud to be contributing in such a way to the safety and security of the United Kingdom as well as ensuring that the UK is equipped to play a central role in next generation combat air programmes. ECRS Mk2 will not only provide critical capability to Typhoon but will also develop and sustain critical skills relevant to the Global Combat Air Programme.”



plane talk autumn 2023


plane talk autumn 2023

Member News

Member News

Grow with us even if you’re retired, says aerospace leader Leading Lancashire aerospace specialist Airframe Designs has issued a message to experienced engineers to get in touch as it expands its growing reputation for excellence in engineering.

An introduction to Troy

In today’s globalised world it’s hard for businesses to stay rooted in the communities which sustain them. Once, major plants would be supplied by a myriad of smaller local businesses, multiplying the benefits they brought to their locality and ensuring a strong local economy, but now that connection is often lost, as the need to be confident in your supply chain’s strength outweighs other considerations.

The pendulum may be swinging back, however. With the global focus on ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues, another three letters increasingly appear in companies’ considerations: CWB, Community Wealth Building. With growing focus on the broader impact businesses have, there’s an expectation that firms can demonstrate how they support their local communities, not just through direct employment and charitable activities (important though those are) but by keeping as much procurement as possible within the local economy. For those tendering for government contracts, it’s vital to demonstrate this, and the weighting given to these factors is only likely to grow should the widely forecast switch to Labour come to pass at the next election. NWAA member Troy is an unusual animal, one whose mission goes directly to the heart of this conundrum. Troy exists to champion independent merchants, enabling them to go head-to-head with the multinational giants, and to beat those corporates in the service they can give to their clients.

Founded in 1986, Troy initially emerged as a buying group, created by a collective of merchants clubbing together to combine their purchasing volume of industrial tooling and supplies, and so get better terms from their suppliers. That was how things carried on until in 2010 Troy was bought out by Paul Kilbride, and private ownership allowed the company to transform. At the point Paul acquired Troy it had 80 members and £30m of turnover. Today, there are over 400 members in the group, and turnover is in excess of £300m. Whilst this growth has been impressive, an even more important change has also been at work. Combined buying is, of course, essential to ensure that independent merchants can deliver the right price for their customers, but nowadays it’s nowhere near enough to enable them to serve those clients as they’d wish, and competitively with multi-nationals. For that reason, Troy has morphed from being a buying group alone to become the backbone organisation for the independent sector.

Through heavy investment in leading edge technology, Troy now provides a wide spectrum of services to its network of independent distributors, from invoice processing to e-commerce, data analytics and marketing support, carbon reporting and ERP systems. Paul Kilbride, CEO of Troy, says: “Independent businesses are vital for our communities and local economies. This is fundamentally why we exist; to support and help independent businesses thrive. “We have continued to, future proof the organisation with investments in the data driven sector and maintain leading the way with the addition of ai tools and an ever- expanding industry product data pool. Despite unexpected global supply chain turmoil, fast changing patterns of demand and high inflation, Troy remains resilient and thanks to our strong core and ethos, we continue to grow, supporting independents to succeed.” Troy provides businesses in the aerospace industry and beyond with a local supply chain alternative for products such as cutting tools, power tools, hand tools, abrasives, PPE and janitorial supplies, which supports your Community Wealth Building objectives. By equipping independent merchants within your local communities with the technology, data detail, supply chain, pricing and more, ensures you can buy from them with confidence, knowing that there’s no need to compromise your standards whilst making sure your business delivers the local benefit that it should.

From its base in Blackpool, the company continues to grow its offering to the aviation industry with its specialisms in producing highly complex components to some of the largest aviation, defence and space organisations worldwide. CEO Jerrod Hartley said: “We’re expanding and asking for experienced airframe design and stress engineers to contact us, even those who may be retired or wish to work part-time. “We’re building a reputation for engineering excellence, and we value the depth of knowledge that seasoned professionals bring. If you have experience and the right skills, we invite you to join us.

Exciting times are ahead as we collaborate with some of the most innovative organisations in the aviation industry. “We’re also nurturing talent and helping to grow and develop graduate and apprentice engineers through our structured training and mentoring from experienced design experts.” The teams working on specialist components at Airframe Designs span an age range of five decades with skills in design, analysis, certification and manufacturing. Recent projects undertaken by Airframe Designs include the integration of new systems into heavy lift drone platforms, conceptual

design at a platform level for new uncrewed air-systems, test rig and tooling for electric vehicle propulsion systems and most recently the design and analysis of operator consoles for a special mission aircraft. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has made it a priority to support older workers who want to return to work, with more than 3.5 million over 50s said to be unemployed according to figures from Age UK. For more information contact Airframe Designs, tel 01253 400320 or visit the Airframe Designs website.

Paul Kilbride CEO



plane talk autumn 2023


plane talk autumn 2023

Member News

Member News

EDM: Empowering aviation futures through Tempest and beyond

Copywrite BAE Systems

Tempest Crew Escape System Test

Typhoon CESST (Trainer)

F-35A Mock Up

EDM Background

Danish Air Force F-35 Mock Up

More recently they have attained their BAE SYSTEMS SC10 approval and are currently manufacturing aircraft components for the Tempest prototype aircraft. Established in 1973, their business is around 70% defence related with significant UK export value and are currently working on Project Selborne along with the Capita consortium and the UK MoD on the refurbishment and relocation of the Royal Navy’s submarine training and simulation equipment.

To date several complex test rigs have been delivered including the High-Speed Ejection Seat Test Sled, Flight Control System Hydraulic Test Rig, Utilities Management System Avionics Test Rig and the first Tempest simulator cockpit. The High-Speed Ejection Seat Test Sled forebody was designed and manufactured in collaboration with Martin Baker Aircraft. This test rig had a number of serious design challenges to overcome the high acceleration and deceleration forces that were exerted during the multiple test runs at up to 500mph that were undertaken at the Martin Baker Aircraft test facility in Langford Lodge, Northern Ireland during 2022. The assembly of the Tempest engine inlet duct required EDM to manufacture many high tolerance complex parts using aircraft grade materials, fasteners and assembly processes to current Typhoon standards. The complete 10m long duct support rig was also designed and manufactured by EDM. The five uniquely shaped duct sections were supplied by BAE SYSTEMS and close teamwork between BAE SYSTEMS, Rolls Royce and EDM was crucial in delivering this complex assembly on time to the Rolls Royce Filton facility where engine testing was successfully completed in February 2023. EDM are currently involved in the design and manufacture of the Environmental Control System test rig.

Trainer and Ejection Systems Maintenance Trainer which are in use with the Royal Air Force, United State Air Force, Japanese Air Self Defence Force and others. The full mission simulators include EDM’s high fidelity replica ejection seats which are manufactured under agreement with Martin Baker Aircraft.

Development of training equipment that utilises cutting edge Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) technology is part of EDM’s future expansion plans.

Based in Newton Heath Manchester, EDM design and manufacture training and simulation equipment for military and civil customers typically working with many airlines and aerospace and defence OEMs. They have a rare niche expertise in providing total solutions for complex specialist engineering projects. EDM have 3,4 and 5 Axis machining capability and have a composite parts facility, including an autoclave and clean rooms commissioned in 2021. Their AS9100D approval covers machining, composites, mechanical assembly and electrical harness manufacture. They are also JOSCAR registered.

Recently EDM designed and manufactured a replica full scale Lockheed Martin F-35A for the Danish Ministry of Defence. This was delivered in July. The mock-up will serve various purposes within the Royal Danish Air Force’s (RDAF) operations. One function is recruitment, where potential future F35 pilots and technicians can get a taste of what it’s like to be in the cockpit of an F-35A. Additionally, the mock-up will grace indoor and outdoor exhibitions, taking centre stage in the RDAF displays. EDM have a long history of mock up manufacture including Typhoon, Hawk, SAAB Grippen along with numerous specialised projects such as the Unmanned Air System concept showcased recently by BAE SYSTEMS at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

Training Academy

EDM recently announced the establishment of a cabin crew training academy based at their Manchester facility and are aiming to be a leading provider of cabin crew training services. The move comes as part of EDM’s efforts to diversify into niche airline and airport service provision and will utilise their recently created world class cabin and flight crew training centre. Skypeople Training were formed in July 2023, recently approved by the CAA they join the EDM Group of companies alongside RGF Support which specialises in airport airside training covering aircraft ground handling, baggage handling, first aid training and many other specialist activities for which security and safety are critical considerations.

Civil Airline Training Simulators

EDM continues to lead the market with its latest civil aviation training products. With a strong commitment to excellence and innovation, EDM has been at the forefront of supplying state-of-the-art training devices to major airlines, providing extremely high- fidelity hands-on training for cabin crew and air crew. United Airlines (UA) recently opened a new training facility in Dallas, USA setting a new standard for aviation training excellence. EDM played a crucial role by supplying ten advanced training devices, each meticulously engineered to replicate the full range of Boeing aircraft types operated by UA. Jet2 has recently established their new Manchester training facility and EDM has been an important part of Jet2’s new operation supplying a range of world-class training devices along with all important after sales support.


EDM are a key supplier to the Tempest combat air demonstrator aircraft program for test rigs, wind tunnel and aircraft parts.

Military Aircraft Simulators

EDM have a well-established reputation for designing and manufacturing highly complex military full mission simulators and part task training devices. These are in service worldwide with multiple air forces. They have worked with BAE SYSTEMS, CAE, Boeing and continue to work with Lockheed Martin on the highly successful F-35 programme and uniquely supply the F-35 Weapons Loading

For more information email us:

Advanced Engine Intake Duct

Copywrite BAE Systems



plane talk autumn 2023


plane talk autumn 2023

Member News

Member News

Investing in the future of engineering: How SRD are future proofing their machining practises with the help of ceratizit A family business that prides itself on a personal touch with customers, SRD is an engineering company based in Bicester, Oxfordshire, which specialises in manufacturing automotive parts. Servicing highly competitive industries such as Formula 1 and motorsport, SRD is renowned for a fast turnaround for parts. Having been in business for over three decades, it has grown into a modern company with over 150 employees, seeing a notable amount of growth in the past 6-7 months.

However, even companies who are at the forefront of their industries need to keep up to date in order to stay competitive. This was certainly true for SRD. For many years, SRD has relied on tried and tested machining techniques to provide the excellent service they are known for. Though, with a recent higher demand for products and a need to fulfil more orders at a quicker rate, they turned to Ceratizit for help. Working with Nev Frisby, Technical Sales Engineer for Ceratizit, they examined their machining processes, inserts and tools and outlined some areas where improvements could be implemented. Firstly, the management team from SRD were invited to a training day at Ceratizit’s Tech Centre in Sheffield. Led by Shaun Thornton, Technical Manager for Ceratizit UK & Ireland, SRD learned about the most up to date tooling and machining practises, as well as being given the chance to put these tools and materials to the test in the workshop downstairs. Back in the workshop, Nev set up a tooling ‘swap out’, where new inserts could be tested without expense to see if they would work for them, it wasn’t long before SRD began to achieve some incredible results. In some instances, SRD were making a time saving of 30-40% on roughing cycles meaning that part production significantly increased. Tool life has also been increased through the use of Ceratizit’s inserts, and their EcoCut inserts are now seen across the workshop. The wide selection of tooling and inserts available in Ceratizit’s extensive

Above: Left: Chris Barnes Apprentice Mentor, Middle: Nev Frisby, right: Adam Leadbeater Apprentice of the year

expertise. Speaking to Jack Wignall, Business Developer at SRD, he discussed how Ceratizit ‘encouraged us to continue to grow. It’s a good reminder that there is always room for improvement in engineering- no matter how efficient you think your processes are. I definitely think this is the start of continuous improvement for SRD as we are determined to stay at the top of our game, and futureproofing the company means that we need to be up to date with tooling and machining techniques.’ The focus on futureproofing the company for SRD extends beyond its approach to highly specialised, precise machining. SRD invest in their apprentices, and are passionate about providing high quality, skilful training to their apprentices. Each apprentice working at SRD is given all the support they need to succeed in this industry. Whether that’s more time set aside for them to complete course, or whether it’s speaking to different people in the workshop, SRD are renowned for how positive a place it is to complete an apprenticeship. Amongst the current apprentices is Adam Leadbeater, a hard-working and diligent apprentice who recently won Apprentice of the Year, a national award whose winner in selected from all apprentices in the UK.

Adam completed his apprenticeship at SRD and chose to stay on at the company once he qualified. Adam highlighted how much support and encouragement he was given by SRD, and exaggerated how he felt he was more able to thrive in his apprenticeship because of their constant support. He said how ‘A lot of companies don’t let apprentices take time out of their working day to complete coursework, however, SRD always made sure that I had time to work on my apprenticeship and I felt incredibly supported by everyone in the company. It’s such a positive place to be, and I still feel like I learn a lot every day. There is only room to grow in this company and you can always move forward if you want to. If you’re wanting to push for improvement, then someone will always be there to help you achieve it.’ Dedicated to their apprenticeship programme, SRD even have a Training Mentor, Chris Barnes, who is the apprentices’ first point of call for support in the workplace. Speaking about the value that is placed in the younger generation of engineers, he stated how ‘We value our apprentices as it’s getting increasingly harder to find skilled people who are eager to work hard and learn. SRD sees this as investing in the future of the company and in the future of highly skilled

machinists. Our apprentices, like Adam, are all encouraged to ask questions and learn. Bringing in younger people is the best way to keep a company growing, and to ensure that the company is strong for generations to come.’ Chris supported Adam through his apprenticeship and was keen to say how proud he was of everything Adam has achieved with SRD. He further said ‘We were all incredibly proud of Adam for winning Apprentice of the Year. We value all of our apprentices immensely, and it’s rewarding to know that Adam’s hard work, diligence and eagerness to better himself everyday didn’t go unnoticed.’ The future looks bright for SRD and everyone who works every day to continuously improve themselves alongside the company they are passionate about working for. Paul reflected how ‘the most exciting thing for us working with Ceratizit is that this is still just the start of our relationship. If so much has been achieved already, then we can’t wait to see what the future holds for us as we work together.’

Above: Left: Jack Wignall business development manager & Right: Chris Bryant production manager

catalogue also meant that SRD were able to find the appropriate tools for each job. The constant line of communication between Ceratizit and SRD meant that technical support was always on hand. Furthermore, Nev’s regular visits, supported by Drew Pettifar, an Application Sales Engineer for Ceratizit, allowed them to get intimately acquainted with SRD’s machines and machining needs, ensuring that whatever they recommended would be sure to make a positive impact. The professional relationship between Ceratizit and its customers is built on trust and mutual respect.

SRD explained the extent to which Nev has helped them make huge improvements across various aspects of machining and production. Paul Bonham highlighted how ‘Nev has really been incredible through this professional relationship. Nev doesn’t just sell products, he recommends products that he is confident will be beneficial for us. The constant line of contact and support we have from Nev and Ceratizit is invaluable, we receive a great amount of technical support from Nev and Drew.’

For SRD, Ceratizit did more than just provide excellent tooling paired with technical



plane talk autumn 2023


plane talk autumn 2023

Member News


NWAA Black Tie Charity Ball

Wallwork to open UK state of the art hot isostatic pressing centre With a £10 million investment, Wallwork Group is establishing a state-of- the-art Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) centre at their Bury, North Manchester site. Housed in a newly prepared 2500 square metres facility, the first of their new HIPs is expected to be fully operational in September 2023.

Friday 10 th November

7:00pm - late

New Venue: Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Resort, Holme Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB12 0RT

Special NWAA Member discounted room rate – Only available up to 11th September 2023

Please Use Code NWAA23 on hotel website or via phone on: 01282 227722

Last year was a resounding success and this year we want to make it even bigger and better!! In response to the valuable feedback from our members,

If You Would Also Like to Sponsor the Event: You can download the SPONSORSHIP BROCHURE HERE and/or please email the NWAA Marketing Team and/or nichola.burton@ Building upon the tremendous success of last year, our aim is to surpass all expectations and create an even better experience this year. We strive to make it bigger, better, and more memorable. Last year with a little help from our friends we raised a phenomenal £2,380.00 for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and this year our chosen charity is the MS Society.

we have taken a significant step forward this year. NWAA is thrilled to reveal that we will be elevating the experience by relocating our Annual Dinner to a stunning new venue. Mark your calendars because the highly anticipated Black-Tie Annual Dinner is set to unfold on Friday, November 10th, 2023 This event presents a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with fellow members and colleagues, as well as extend a warm welcome to new members. We thrilled to announce our support for the MS Society by organising a charity raffle during the evening. It is an occasion that simply cannot be overlooked — our signature event of the year. Prepare to unwind, revel in the festivities, and celebrate alongside your esteemed colleagues and teams. ‘Thank You’ to HycAero, Brookhouse Aerospace & Hyde Aero Products in Advance Our Confirmed Event Sponsors:

Quintus Technologies are currently completing the installation of the first of Wallwork’s HIPs. They are the global leader in high pressure technology and have over 2000 systems working worldwide in industries including aerospace, energy, medical implants, space, automotive and food processing. “As the UK’s premier independent heat treatment, vacuum brazing, and advanced ultra-hard coatings company, this is a significant expansion of Wallwork’s thermal processing services and is part of a commitment to invest £20 million over the next five years. It cements our position as the UK one-stop shop for component manufacturers. All secondary processes are easily accessible on this site or another Wallwork site and backed by our national pickup/delivery transport fleet,” said director, Simeon Collins. Wallwork director, James Bailey, and David Loughlin (HIP Business Manager) are heading the new Wallwork HIP Centre, along with Andy Day in sales. David joins the company to take on the new role and brings with him his extensive experience in running a HIP facility in Europe, and understands customer expectations on high service, competitive pricing, and quality.

David explained, “The demand for HIP is growing quickly, in part driven by the leaps forward in additive manufacturing technology. HIP is extremely efficient at removing the porosity from AM parts made from metal powders – this densification process is often the only way for AM builds to fulfil their safety critical potential. With the Quintus URC system to reduce cycle times and high-pressure capability, we are set to meet customer demand and expectations in these developing areas. Compared to the US and Europe, the UK has been lagging behind in HIP capacity. This investment and those planned by Wallwork, will go a long way to rectify that. In addition to Wallwork’s focus on quality, service and value added, I’m looking forward to developing some new relationships for the company.” James added, “The Quintus Technologies’ HIP operates at pressures from 40 to 207 MPa (5,800 to 30,000 psi) and temperatures up to 1250 °C. The new unit being installed has the latest technology capable of rapid cooling and the ability to increase cycle pressures to aid with new engineering advances particular in additive manufacturing. This requires some major engineering and civil works, hence the high investment we need to make to enter this growing market. The ability to improve

material fatigue properties, ductility, structural integrity, and fracture toughness applies to AM, castings, forgings and subtractive engineered components. Components with complex geometries can also be processed to near-net shape, saving customers additional machining steps and therefore cost.” Simeon Collins concluded, “Beginning the design phase for the first of our HIPs during the pandemic presented many unforeseen challenges for Wallwork and the team at Quintus Technologies. This has forged a solid working relationship and gives us great confidence in their support for the technology going forward as we continue to invest. As the Bury site is already the largest single-site UK heat treating facility with an aerospace scope covering nine Nadcap check sheets, we expect to be adding new certifications and approvals for HIP as quickly as possible. We also have a dedicated online customer portal in development that will aid load scheduling.”

Here’s how you can help support further: Prizes are already being donated and if you would like to donate a raffle prize, please email NWAA Marketing Team and/or



plane talk autumn 2023


plane talk autumn 2023

Member News

Member News

Sylatech signals growth with expansion into US markets

Leading aerospace design, engineering and manufacturing business Sylatech has announced a new milestone with the expansion of its business in the US with the opening of a facility at Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania.

Leading aerospace design, engineering and manufacturing business Sylatech has announced a new milestone with the expansion of its business in the US with the opening of a facility at Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. Sylatech North America takes forward the next generation of development for the company, having had experience of working with prime customers for a number of years. Robert Lowther, Sylatech’s Sales Director, said: “The establishment of Sylatech North America demonstrates our firm ambition to grow our sales in this key territory.

As a beneficiary of the leading aerospace change programme, Sharing in Growth, Sylatech is undertaking a business transformation programme, to achieve profitable growth and drive Sylatech towards ‘world class’ in the operation and performance of the business. The Sylatech team work alongside Sharing in Growth’s highly experienced coaches, as they share their industry expertise across a number of disciplines, including leadership, strategy, culture, lean manufacturing and business development. The programme provides £850K of funded support to Sylatech and is being delivered over a 48 month period.

Honeywell Aerospace for many years, and we see significant market opportunities in the aerospace, defence and space sectors for its our antennas, waveguide subsystems and assemblies.” With a heritage spanning 59 years in delivering precision custom engineering solutions for our customers, Sylatech’s service offering spans two core technologies: • RF and Microwave – custom design and manufacture of microwave systems, subsystems, assemblies and components

• Investment Casting Foundry –

manufacturing precision metal parts through lost wax investment casting.

“Sylatech has worked with prime customers in the USA including Collins Aerospace and



plane talk autumn 2023


plane talk autumn 2023

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