BAE to open intelligent technology factory

BAE Systems is to open a new factory at its Warton site which will apply advanced intelligent technology to the production of military aircraft.

The organisation has partnered with more than 40 blue chip companies and academic institutions to bring the multi-million-pound project to fruition.

The factory will harness advanced manufacturing technologies and engineering processes such as automated robots that will work alongside humans, as well as virtual and augmented reality that will increase speed, precision and efficiencies, while reducing the costs associated with the manufacture of complex military aircraft structures.

The cobotics and other flexible robot technologies will remove the need for heavy, fixed, long-lead tooling and can quickly switch from the manufacture of one item or platform to another. Intelligent machines and off-the-shelf robotic technology from the automotive industry have been modified to operate at the precise tolerances required for military aircraft, which in some cases are less than a third the width of a human hair.

The investments further the Tempest project's mission of keeping the UK at the forefront of the combat air sector.

Dave Holmes, manufacturing director for BAE Systems Air, said: "We’ve collaborated with the best of UK industry and academia to develop a cutting-edge facility that combines current and emerging technologies, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of combat air technology development.

"Driving our manufacturing capabilities forward as we prepare for the fourth Industrial Revolution, will sustain and develop critical skillsets and ensure we can continue to deliver military capability to address future threats, whilst improving productivity and delivering value for money for our customers."

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