Dowty Propellers is planning a new manufacturing center for its composite blades in Gloucester, England, as well as a new headquarters there, to replace an operation that was destroyed by fire in 2015. The GE Aviation subsidiary that produces propellers and propeller components to civil and military aircraft engine OEMs has been operating at an interim plant at Mitcheldean, also in Gloucestershire, in November 2015.
No final location for the new operation has been determined, manufacturer indicated, but one will be announced by the end of this year following a proposal and selection process, “to ensure that the best combination of cost and efficiency can be achieved.”
The budget for this project also was not detailed. Dowty Propellers noted it has about 340 employees in the area that will transfer from the interim site to the new operation in 2019.
Dowty also announced the start of a £20-million ($26.2 million) “technology development project,” to produce new capabilities for both propeller systems and future propulsion systems. This Digital Propulsion project will draw £9.5 million ($12.4 million) in matching funds from the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Research partners in this effort include Britain’s National Composites Centre, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.
The two projects represent the largest investment ever proposed by Dowty Propellers.
“We are delighted to be continuing our long history with the Gloucester area,” stated president Oliver Towers. “The decision to stay in this area was driven by the capabilities and commitment of our workforce that stretches back over 80 years. This decision, along with our launch of the U.K.-supported Digital Propulsion project, will enable us to maintain our position as a world leader in propeller systems with the latest technology, supported by world-class research and development.”