Aerospace manufacturer soars in UK ventilator challenge

The workforce of a UK aerospace manufacturer has pulled together working double shifts, around the clock, learning new complex machining methods and rapidly transforming production lines to contribute to the UK’s national effort against Coronavirus.

Employees at AE Aerospace have been manufacturing complex parts to contribute to the production of thousands of Pneupac ParaPAC ventilators, used by respiratory therapists, paramedics, and trained emergency personnel.

The company had to get to grips with new materials and novel production methods in what was a huge change from its usual high-precision metalwork fabrication. Peter Bruch, managing director of AE Aerospace, celebrated the big team effort involved in completing six weeks’ worth of production in just a fortnight. This is compared to AE Aerospace’s normal lead-times, which would typically take 12 weeks work, from sight of drawing to finishing production.

“From the moment we received the drawings, the AE team rallied together to overhaul our production line, rapidly learn new manufacturing techniques and share ideas on how we could accelerate the creation of these essential components,” Mr Bruch explained. “The entire team was involved throughout the project, as we got to grips with mill-turning complex parts made from nylon – a material that we don’t often work with.”

AE Aerospace was one of the first manufacturing businesses to start delivering finished components as part of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, which saw companies including Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Ford working together to scale up production of proven ventilator components and models already manufactured by UK firms Smiths and Penlon.

Mr Bruch commented on a very intense production period that saw AE Aerospace start producing components on April 4th 2020 and completing them on Good Friday, ready for these parts to be assembled into the finished ventilators being rolled out to the NHS.

“Few countries have quite the community spirit and collaboration that exists within UK manufacturing,” he said. “Not only did VentilatorChallengeUK bring numerous manufacturing organisations together with a shared goal; it also brought our entire team together in a fantastic way.

“We had everyone working together to reshape production lines, learn new volume production techniques and complete one of the quickest and most important projects in the company’s 24-year history. We’re just delighted we could contribute to this magnificent national effort.”

AE Aerospace www.aeaerospace.com

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