Innovating for sustainability
02 IMPROVE SELL
Continue to invest in and support our businesses as they develop products and services aligned with a net zero future
- Invest in research and development (“R&D”) to support and harness product innovation and quality within our businesses, to help their customers deliver on their commercial and environmental goals and to help find effective solutions to assist them in combatting climate change.
GKN Aerospace is a world-leading multi-technology manufacturer of airframe and engine structures and electrical interconnection systems for the global aerospace industry, across both civil and defence platforms. With operations in 12 countries, it is at the forefront of improving the efficiency of existing aircraft, and developing the next generation of greener aircraft, based on technological innovation, advanced processes and engineering excellence. GKN Aerospace’s products enable aircraft to fly safely and more efficiently. GKN Aerospace is structured according to its three core customer markets – Civil Airframe, Defence Airframe and Engines. Its technology is used throughout the aerospace industry: from high-use single aisle aircraft and the world’s longest haul passenger planes, through to business jets, helicopters, the world’s most advanced fighter jets and space launchers.
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During 2021, GKN Aerospace took a further step forward in its sustainability strategy. Investment was made in technology to support and enable this strategy to achieve reductions in energy, material and waste in its current factories, and to enable improvements in efficiency and revolutionary capabilities in next generation aircraft and engine platforms, which will assist the future of zero emissions flight. At the forefront of this strategy is a new network of Global Technology Centres (“GTCs”), to develop and demonstrate capability, drive collaboration and accelerate technological breakthroughs in each of its businesses. In 2021 GKN Aerospace opened its £32 million UK GTC in Bristol, as well as its Dutch GTC in Hoogeveen, to complement the Swedish and US hubs that are already established.
GKN Aerospace is now developing the next generation of lighter and more sustainable aerostructures and engine products, as well as lightweight additive manufacturing solutions and future zero-emission propulsion systems. Putting this technology strategy into action, GKN Aerospace established its position at the forefront of four major European propulsion programmes during 2021. Two of these – the £54 million H2GEAR project in the UK and H2JET in Sweden – are ground-breaking hydrogen projects aiming to develop propulsion systems to power aircraft using liquid hydrogen, eliminating carbon dioxide emissions.
Through collaboration in the European Clean Sky 2 programme, GKN Aerospace also delivered the first Intermediate Compressor Case for the Rolls-Royce UltraFan™ engine demonstrator, which is expected to achieve significant fuel efficiency improvements compared with current engines.
There were also notable achievements in developing more sustainable aerostructures solutions. During 2021, GKN Aerospace manufactured and delivered the first fully integrated wings, tail and wiring system for Eviation’s Alice electric aircraft, as well as producing and delivering the first composite fixed trailing edge for Airbus’ “Wing of Tomorrow” project, both from its new UK GTC.
Each of the above projects form important ingredients on the sector’s path to achieve net zero Greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and have helped to establish GKN Aerospace’s position as a sustainability leader in the aviation industry.
GKN Automotive is a leading supplier of driveline technologies to the global automotive industry and a trusted partner to over 90% of the world’s car manufacturers for electrification, all-wheel drive programmes and new vehicle concepts. It is leading the way in electric vehicle drive system technology, and continues to make significant investment into a range of e-Drive capabilities.
Headquartered in the UK and operating in 20 countries, it also has a leading presence in China thanks to its long-standing joint venture, Shanghai GKN HUAYU Driveline Systems Co Limited, with local partner HASCO.
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GKN Automotive’s Driveline division is a global leader that demonstrates strength in depth and breadth, with an extensive portfolio of drive system products that combine value with technological leadership spanning all light vehicle types, from high-volume low-cost to premium models for both conventional and electrified propulsion systems. The ePowertrain division offers solutions for all electrified vehicles and is a go-to technology partner for Global OEMs with decades of experience. Its ability to fully integrate e-Drive systems derives from its all-wheel drive heritage and leadership.
In 2021, the Driveline division accelerated its shift towards electrification by further adapting its portfolio to match the changing demands of new-energy vehicles. The business completed 48 new programme launches and continued to secure a significant share of new business wins on electrified vehicle platforms, reinforcing the division’s industry-leading position through its premium core products. The ePowertrain division is increasingly benefitting from light vehicle electrification and delivering impressive growth. In 2021, the business saw the production launch of 12 new programmes across 11 different global brands powered by GKN Automotive technology.
The next generation of e-Drive systems is now in development with a focus on reduced weight and increased efficiency and power density. With deep expertise across all elements of e-Drive, a heritage of manufacturing excellence and a global footprint, ePowertrain is a leading development partner for major leading electrified vehicle manufacturers, featuring components on seven of the top ten global platforms outside of China. New business wins in 2021 included the award of the first fully outsourced 3-in-1 system for one of the major German manufacturers.
GKN Powder Metallurgy
GKN Powder Metallurgy is a global leader in both precision powder metal parts for the automotive and industrial sectors, and the production of metal powder, through its prized vertically integrated business platform. It combines the design and production of advanced powder metals with innovative sintering and additive production technologies to create unique metal and polymer products.
Its solutions support the expansion of electric vehicles within the automotive industry, and has made significant investment in commercialising additive manufacturing to develop more sustainable technologies with a variety of sectors.
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GKN Powder Metallurgy
This year a key focus was the business’s continued development of its transition plan for the switch to electric vehicles. As well as innovative solutions like the launch of an electric pump for hybrid transmission vehicles, the business is well progressed in harnessing its unique powder technologies in connection with break-through technologies for magnets for e-motors.
As part of the improvement plan, the core business has been streamlined, resulting in the divestment in May 2021 of a non-core low margin structural plant in the US, and the planned Canada plant closure, which is set to be concluded during 2022. In addition, the closure of a Sinter Metals site in Germany was communicated in November 2021. These actions are set to bring strong benefits to the business’s carbon footprint for the long-term.
Having taken it through the initial development phase, GKN Hydrogen, the hydrogen storage business, was also separated into a standalone business under direct Melrose management at the end of the year.
Other parts of the business made good progress as well. For Powders (Hoeganaes), the hydride powder for hydrogen storage was further developed and it will be a long-term supplier to GKN Hydrogen. In Additive, the expansion of polymers into the Michigan, US site was initiated, as a way of increasing the presence in the Midwest and, in particular, to serve the global automotive manufacturers.
Having sold Brush and Nortek Control during the year, the Other Industrial division now consists of Ergotron and the newly formed GKN Hydrogen business.
Ergotron is a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of ergonomic products for use in a variety of working, learning and healthcare environments. Based in Minneapolis, US, Ergotron comprises three business segments: Healthcare, Workspace, and Custom. Ergotron is respected for high quality, professional-grade products that last.
Ergotron’s innovative TRACE™ Monitor Mount is a hybrid of Ergotron’s best technologies and innovations, offering users the freedom to meet the needs of their unique workstyles and positively impact their performance, wellbeing and satisfaction. Ergotron’s Constant Force™ Technology pairs with a linear guide system that allows for smooth monitor adjustment and 240 degrees pan for a flexible, ergonomic set-up. In personal or shared workspaces, users can work seated or standing, with their monitors at a customisable height to support the ideal posture for comfortable, healthy working. Ergotron’s proprietary TRACE™ arm technology provides an easier and more intuitive positioning of the display. Set apart from traditional monitor arms, the TRACE™ Monitor Mount is designed with distinct vertical and lateral movements to move in a straight line, tracing the user movement along its natural path to effortlessly transition between individual and collaborative work, always returning to the personalised home position.
GKN Hydrogen offers a state-of-the-art metal hydride storage solution that was initially developed under the umbrella of the GKN Powder Metallurgy business. It harnessed GKN Powder Metallurgy’s unique and industry leading knowledge of powder technology to create the most reliable and secure hydrogen storage solution currently available today. The robust system stores hydrogen compactly and safely in proprietary metal hydrides and it can be used in a wide range of industrial and commercial applications.
Having produced and tested pilot systems during 2021, the business has been separated into a standalone business within the Melrose Group in order to maximise the growth opportunity. GKN Hydrogen will now move into the commercialisation phase with increased focus in 2022 and beyond.
Economist Impact’s Sustainability Week 2022
Watch our sessions from Melrose, GKN Aerospace and GKN Hydrogen
Watch the sessions
Economist Impact’s Sustainability Week 2022
Melrose – Generating returns from sustainable investment
GKN Aerospace - Investing in a flight path to Net Zero aviation