Saturday, January 16, 2021

Rolls-Royce reveals plans for Hucknall site

Rolls-Royce is proposing to increase the scope of ITP Aero’s (currently wholly-owned by Rolls-Royce) supply chain activity, engineering and manufacturing capabilities as part of its ongoing review of its Civil Aerospace facility footprint.

The company is planning to transfer its facility and workforce in Hucknall into ITP Aero. Rolls-Royce says that Hucknall, which manufactures a range of aero-engine parts, will bring ITP Aero new capabilities and become a critical part of the enlarged business, helping to secure the future of the site and as a part of ITP Aero, the site will have the potential to unlock new growth and investment opportunities.

Rolls-Royce is also proposing to consolidate the manufacture of aero-engine structures into ITP Aero. The company said: “Due to the significant reduction in global demand for our products and services from commercial aviation customers, which is forecast to last several years, we must reduce our manufacturing capacity and cost base in order to protect our remaining workforce.

“ITP Aero, currently undergoing its own restructuring, offers a more cost competitive option than our existing structures facility in Barnoldswick, UK. We are commencing consultation on a proposal to close the structures facility on the site. While this will be hugely upsetting news for our colleagues in Barnoldswick, this does not mean we are closing our Barnoldswick site.

“Barnoldswick will be the home of a product development and technical support centre for wide chord fan blades and continue to manufacture blades for a range of Defence and Civil Aerospace applications.”

Rolls-Royce has also informed colleagues in Inchinnan, Scotland, that due to the continued reduction in demand for aero-engine shafts, it no longer has the workload to maintain production in multiple locations and is therefore proposing to consolidate their manufacture, some of which was previously carried out in Inchinnan, into Rolls-Royce’s Derby site.

The company is also planning to sell the ITP Aero Business. Rolls-Royce said: “ITP Aero is a key partner for Rolls-Royce and we will retain a long-term relationship with the business – including the operations we are today proposing to place within it – across our Civil Aerospace and Defence programmes. ITP Aero works with other large commercial and business aviation engine manufacturers and a disposal could unlock new growth and investment opportunities, including by enabling it to attract further work from third parties.”

The firm noted that the impact on jobs across the business as a result of these announcements is included within the figure of at least 9,000, across Rolls-Royce, announced in its restructuring of 20 May 2020.

Chris Cholerton, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic we have taken swift action to protect our business by both reducing our spending and costs, and by raising additional funds. But despite the prospect that business will eventually return to normal, sparked by recent news of vaccines, the pandemic has created a once-in-a-generation shock to the whole of commercial aviation and it is going to take years to recover. By completing the restructuring of our Civil Aerospace business we can emerge as a stronger, more efficient and sustainable business able to tackle some of the world’s toughest technological challenges.”

“The proposals we are laying out today will provide an opportunity for our workforce in Hucknall to benefit from being part of an enlarged global aerospace leader that can compete for business with other engine manufacturers. But I understand that the announcement will be hugely upsetting for our colleagues in Barnoldswick. This is a very difficult proposal to make, but we cannot afford to retain every Rolls-Royce factory that was supported by demand that has been dramatically reduced by the pandemic. No government support scheme can replace sustainable customer demand and no government can sign-up to extending the sort of short-term measures we have been very grateful for, over multiple years.”

“The impact and pain of the pandemic on Civil Aerospace is not only being felt by our colleagues in the UK. We have already announced proposals to unfortunately reduce our Civil Aerospace workforce in Germany by almost a quarter due to the reduction in demand from customers, while in Singapore several hundred jobs have been impacted as part of our global restructuring and we are consolidating the assembly and testing of our widebody engines into the UK. We have also announced the closure of a whole Civil Aerospace manufacturing site in the US, which is less than a decade old, and the work it used to carry out will now be done in the UK.”

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