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GKN Aerospace recycles its carbon fibre

United Kingdom – UK-based GKN Aerospace is to recycle uncured carbon fibre waste from its aero-structure manufacturing operation at Cowes on the Isle of Wright following the signing of an agreement with Recycled Carbon Fibre Ltd (RCF). The recycling will take place at RCF’s facility in the West Midlands region of central England.

GKN Aerospace estimates that around 100 tonnes of carbon fibre waste from the Cowes site will be recycled in the next 12 months as part of this cost-neutral accord. The recycled material will be used in a variety of products, including paints and coatings, thermoplastic polymers, composite tooling and deep-sea buoyancy products. Rich Oldfield, Director of Technology at GKN Aerospace, explains: ‘Our composite research facility has been working with RCF for some time and our aim now is to commence a programme that will ultimately establish recycling as an integral part of our full production manufacturing process in the UK and globally.’
RCF’s Managing Director Steve Line adds: ‘Until now, the only solutions for disposing of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic waste have been landfill or incineration, both of which are harmful to the environment. The unique RCF process allows GKN Aerospace to act in an environmentally-friendly way. From RCF’s point of view, the GKN Aerospace waste will be an important part of our feedstock supply in the coming years.’
Over the next five years, GKN Aerospace anticipates a 30% increase in the quantity of waste for recycling from the Cowes facility alone.

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