Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Marlborough Engineering on cloud nine with contract to build aircraft parts

The prestigious Titanic Quarter development
The prestigious Titanic Quarter development

A Belfast engineering company has completed the manufacture of parts for a new military aircraft being built by one of the world's biggest aerospace companies.

Marlborough Engineering, based in the Titanic Quarter, has been making parts – some up to 20 metres in length – to test the wings and spars for the KC-390 aircraft being developed by Brazilian firm Embraer.

Marlborough, which employs around 55 people, supplies high specification precision machined components and large scale fabrications to customers primarily in aerospace market but also supplies a range of industrial sectors including power generation, automotive and scientific.

Embraer is one of the top global aerospace companies producing commercial, military and executive aircraft.

The firm came 17th in PricewaterhouseCooper's Top 100 Aerospace Companies list last year, with revenue of $6.18bn (£3.72bn) and a profit of $612m (£367m).

The KC-390 is a new military transport aircraft, one of the largest planes that Embraer has ever developed and is designed to transport up to 21 tonnes of cargo including armoured vehicles.

Marlborough has now successfully completed the challenging six-month build project and fixtures have been installed for a year's testing in the UK, before being transported and re-installed at Embraer's facility in Portugal where the KC-390 wings are being manufactured.

The plane is being developed in Brazil, while the fixtures were designed in Seattle, manufactured in Ireland and now being delivered to Portugal for wing production.

Marlborough's sales manager Alistair Bann said that the tendering process to win the work was extremely competitive.

"It was a tough process but we are very pleased to have been able to manufacture these parts for Embraer, we had a number of personnel from the company over here in Northern Ireland for a few weeks and were delighted to be able to show them the aerospace manufacturing capability and skills which exist in Northern Ireland," Mr Bann told the Belfast Telegraph.

"We and other companies alongside ADS have been doing a lot of work in Europe and the USA to bring work back to Northern Ireland.

"The skillset that we have here is excellent and I think Northern Ireland companies have a real understanding of what aerospace customers need, which is how we are able to remain so competitive in this sector."

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