Boeing contract seals record year for high flying Yorkshire technology specialist

A YORKSHIRE-based mechanical engineering specialist is celebrating a record-breaking year after securing a contract with Boeing.

The team from MetLase has secured a major contract win. (l-r) Sam Simpson (Principal Engineer), Steve Dunn (Managing Director), James Needham (Senior Operations Manager at Boeing Sheffield) and Richard Gould (Sales Manager)

MetLase, which is a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Unipart, has become the tooling and fixture partner for the aerospace manufacturer’s new Sheffield facility.

The company will use its 3D design capabilities, high precision laser-cutting technology and patented assembly and joining systems to create lightweight machining fixtures.

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These fixtures will hold 11 different castings used in the production of actuation system components for the 737, 767 and 777 passenger jets.

MetLase specialises in the manufacture of tooling, fixturing and components, bringing lead times of months down to hours or days.

A spokesman said: “This contract with Boeing is the latest in a line of new business wins that include strategic partnerships with blue chip companies in sectors such as automotive, aerospace and energy.”

Steve Dunn, the managing director at MetLase. 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 service, can be continually improved to deliver the best possible performance.”

He 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 at the AMP Technology Centre, is due to start delivering the first fixtures this week as part of a three year contract. The deal with Boeing has already created four jobs with more to follow.

The AMP technology Centre is at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), in Rotherham and is regarded as one of the most innovative engineering, research and manufacturing communities in the UK.

Richard Gould, the sales manager at MetLase. 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.”

Fast growing manufacturing firms hope to cash in on Industry 4.0, which is often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

The digital revolution is also providing significant opportunities for manufacturers who are focusing on innovation.

Mr Gould added: “Industry 4.0, big data and smart manufacturing are 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.”