Assistance for universities helps develop future composites technology business
A highly competitive cost base at its Pembroke Dock headquarters is among the factors helping specialist composites manufacturer United Aerospace Ltd attract and retain clients in a demanding global marketplace.
The company combines years of experience with manufacturing techniques that utilise state-of- the-art equipment.
Operating from a 2,500 m2 purpose-built manufacturing facility in Pembroke Dock, United Aerospace was established in 2004 following a management buy-out at DPS Composites which had operated from the location since 1999. At the time of the buy-out, some 80 per cent of United Aerospace’s business was focused on the aircraft industry. Since then, it has retained a strong order book in aircraft markets, supplying product for applications ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles to aircraft seats.
It has also successfully diversi ed to serve automotive, medical and wind energy companies and other applications demanding high strength, light weight materials. As well as providing components for aircraft interiors, today it is producing composites for wind turbines, vehicles ranging from kit cars to production cars, and X-Ray scanners, to name a few. It supplies clients across Europe and the USA.
It has also launched a new subsidiary, UA Composites, to work with other organisations seeking to assess feasibility and introduce innovative new components that can bene t from composites technology. The service provides product developers with advice on working with composite materials, production methods, costs and prototyping, from concept through to nal design and has rapidly developed industry attention.
The company is at the forefront of development and is working with the University of Swansea and Swansea Metropolitan University, assisting in the establishment of a university composites laboratory and providing information for a university project studying advanced composite cutting technology.
The composite materials market is both highly competitive and international. United Aerospace must compete with other specialists based not just in the UK but locations such as South Africa, China and Thailand. Access to staff and production operatives at competitive rates helps ensure United Aerospace’s advanced technology is complemented by a cost structure that contributes to the ability to offer cost-ef cient, high performance products.
From the time of the management buy-out, the company has worked closely with Welsh Government.
Explains managing director Gareth Burks: “The Welsh Government worked with us initially to build con dence in the new company, joining with us on client presentations. We have also bene ted from international networking opportunities, as well as support for new investments which have included the installation of additional autoclave facilities used to achieve exceptional surface finishes.”
Collaboration with academia is also strongly supported by the Welsh Government and, says Gareth Burks: “The assistance we are currently providing to the Swansea universities is, in turn, helping to develop composites technology which we expect to bene t our business in the future.”