Aerospace Specialist Flies In From Europe
|Author: Haley Storey||Published: 22nd June 2012 14:00|
HQ: Folland Aerotech's new base in Hampshire.
A European specialist in aerospace design has set up its British headquarters near Portsmouth.
Folland Aerotech rejected alluring business incentives from Switzerland, Germany and Spain to make Hampshire the nerve centre of international operations.
Co-founders Stan Lewry, a stress engineer, and Colin Baker, a structural designer, were previously located near Zurich for nearly 20 years.
Folland Aerotech is involved in some of the largest multi-national aerospace programmes in the world, heading up stress analysis and design work on movable parts of aircraft wings and fairings.
The firm was recently awarded a €1.5m contract in connection with the Airbus A350 extra wide body jet; ongoing support projects include the military transport aircraft Airbus A400M.
In a deal through Hughes Ellard, the regional commercial property agency, Folland Aerotech signed a five-year lease on two self-contained offices with 12 parking spaces at 1 Gloster Court, 5 Whittle Avenue, Segensworth West.
The annual rent for the offices, totaling 2,918 sq ft (271 sq m), is £23,344 a year.
Folland Aerotech's business space needs reflect anticipated pipeline work, backed by a recruitment drive for first-rate design engineers.
Russell Mogridge of Fareham-based Hughes Ellard, who represented the private landlord of 2 Gloster Court, said: "This is an inspirational example of British intelligence leading Europe in the intensely demanding and complex field of aerospace engineering - Folland Aerotech's arrival is a stirring vote of confidence in Hampshire and the UK.
"The letting reflects an increase in office enquiries from small-to-medium sized enterprises seeking office space under 279 sq m this year."
Folland Aerotech, which currently has a vanguard team of 12 at its new headquarters, with plans for a further 20 full-time design engineers on site, also carries out work packages for Swiss-based space programmes.
They include the development of payload fairings on the Ariane 5 rocket, which launches ‘workhorse' cargo carriers on resupply missions to the International Space Station.
Folland Aerotech also compiles stress analysis reports on commercial space satellites.
Stan, who maintains a home locally, said: "With the strength of Swiss Franc, and need to import the majority of the workforce, it was deemed to be uneconomical to operate from Switzerland.
"Various sites were considered throughout Europe, with Switzerland, Germany and Spain all offering business inducements as the aerospace industry is deeply respected by many countries.
"It was felt a design/analysis office to suit our needs would be best located on the central South Coast of England, where the key skills are available, and at a location with ease of access to major motorways and Southampton International Airport. Hughes Ellard came up trumps for us with Gloster Court, which is by junction 9 of the M27.
"Once our head office operations are consolidated, building a strong stress analysis team capable of undertaking sizeable work packages in the aerospace domain, we'll be seeking to interact with colleges and universities to utilise graduate training schemes."
Work will also come in through joint venture partner Lewry TSE Switzerland, which is highly regarded in Switzerland.
Lewry TSE has a partnership with RUAG Space, the largest independent supplier of space technology in Europe, and major involvement in multi-national programmes, particularly in the field of structural analysis.
The venture is also involved in supporting the development of a new business jet, supporting another Swiss client.
Stan added: "It is intended to as far as possible relocate as much of this work as possible back to Folland Aerotech's head office, where it can be undertaken more economically, and creating high-value jobs locally."
Colin and he were work colleagues at Aerostructures Hamble, now GE Aviation Systems (Aerostructures), near Southampton, in the 1980s.
In 1990 Stan left to take up a consultancy position in Switzerland and founded an engineering consultancy in Zurich, engaging 160 niche specialists on aerospace projects.
Colin first joined commercial forces with Stan in 2002, controlling aerospace programmes, with significant achievements in the development of Airbus A380 flaps and tracks and A400M wing skins.
Number 1 Gloster Court itself comprises a two-storey, end-terrace office built in the late 1980s and set within an six-unit office campus.