Friday, September 28, 2018

News: MetLase boosted by Boeing link up

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MetLase is expecting to increase its Rotherham workforce having been confirmed as Boeing Sheffield's tooling and fixturing partner.

Rothbiz reported last week that a number of local companies had been signed up by the US aerospace giant to supply its new Sheffield facility that is set to open later this year.

MetLase is a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and the Unipart Group is a mechanical engineering consultancy that specialises in increasing productivity by designing and manufacturing complex tooling, fixturing and components for a wide range of industries, often bringing lead times of months down to just days.

Taking space in the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) Technology Centre in Rotherham, the rapidly-growing company is initially focused on aerospace, automotive, motorsport and the medical market sector.

MetLase said that it will initially increase the workforce by 15% on the back of the Boeing deal.

The company will use its 3D design capabilities, high precision laser-cutting technology and patented assembly and joining systems to create lightweight and optimised machining fixtures that will precisely hold 11 different castings used in the production of actuation system components for the 737, 767 and 777 passenger jets.

The contract with Boeing is the latest in a line of new business wins that include strategic partnerships with blue chip companies - marking a 70% annual increase in sales.

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Steve Dunn, managing director at MetLase (pictured, second left), said: "The long-term agreement with Boeing marks a new chapter for our business, as it will enable us to become an integral part of its future plans to develop intelligent and connected fixturing and tooling solutions.

"Our unique approach and technology will see us produce optimised fixtures that are lighter than traditional alternatives, can be produced in weeks as opposed to months and, importantly, through our design iteration service, can be continually improved to deliver the best possible performance.

Liberty Speciality Steels, Maher, Nikken, Aeromet International Ltd and Mettis Aerospace have also been named on the supply chain. The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has also been key to Boeing selecting a site on the Sheffield Business Park for its first European factory.

Dunn added: "This contract is an ideal way to celebrate our third birthday and is also excellent news for the region, with two other local companies – Maher Ltd and Nikken – also being awarded contracts.

"Strategic supply chain relationships are very important to Boeing and, from the outset, we have been working closely with other suppliers to build partnerships and explore ways where we can harness our collective expertise to offer new solutions."

MetLase, which employs 25 people at its 12,500 sq ft state-of the-art facility, is due to start delivering the first fixtures this week as part of a three-year contract.

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Richard Gould, sales manager at MetLase (pictured, far right), said: "Our standardised design and development process and unique joining and assembly techniques mean we only use the exact amount of material needed, ensuring we can deliver fixtures quicker and more cost effectively than our rivals.

"This is the first stage of what Boeing wanted. The next phase is to develop intelligent fixtures that provide real time data on performance and will either alert engineers if an issue arises or correct it automatically.

"Industry 4.0, big data and smart manufacturing is crucial to the success of global manufacturing. Our aim is to create an intelligent fixturing system that tells the next production stage in the process exactly what has happened before."

MetLase website

Images: MetLase

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