Composite Trailing Edge Facility, GKN Aerospace

Severnside, Bristol
GKN Aerospace
£20m incl. fitout

The Severnside project was undertaken in two existing ‘Developer Shell’ industrial buildings, one of 250,000sqft and the other of 200,000sqft. The first building (called 5020) is for the manufacture of small components which are then transferred to the second building (5010) for final assembly into the completed wing trailing edge for the new Airbus A350XWB.

Building 5020 contains sophisticated machinery for winding composite fibres, huge router machines for finishing works and autoclaves for ‘baking’ the finished products. All of these machines are massive and have strict antivibration criteria, which means foundations and pits for the machines are complicated and heavily reinforced. Roughly 25% of Building 5020 is also converted to a low level Clean Room because some of the manufacturing processes are dust sensitive. There are also several overhead travelling cranes that were installed.


Although there are no hazardous processes, there are extensive requirements for gas storage (primarily nitrogen) air handling plant and compressors etc. The building also accommodates administration and welfare facilities.

Building 5010 is less sophisticated, being a large open space, but the final assembly of components is partly done by robots and parts are transported around the building on automatic robotic flat bed trucks. The final completed trailing edges are taken from site to the main Wing Assembly facility at Filton, Bristol using a ‘just in time’ delivery system.

The existing building envelopes remain largely untouched apart from alterations to loading bay facilities.