A joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Unipart, MetLase has been announced as the tooling and fixture partner for the world’s largest aerospace manufacturer’s new Sheffield facility, in a deal that will initially increase the workforce by 15%.

MetLase specialise in the manufacture of tooling, intelligent fixturing and components.The company will create lightweight and optimised machining fixtures to be used in the production of actuation system components.

This contract with Boeing, along with other new contracts, will mean a 70% annual increase in sales for the Sheffield based firm.

“The long-term agreement with Boeing marks a new chapter for our business, as it will enable us to become an integral part of its future plans to develop intelligent and connected fixturing and tooling solutions,” explained Steve Dunn, managing director at MetLase.

“Our unique approach and technology will see us produce optimised fixtures that are lighter than traditional alternatives, can be produced in weeks as opposed to months and, importantly, through our design iteration service, can be continually improved to deliver the best possible performance.”

He went on to add: “This contract is an ideal way to celebrate our third birthday and is also excellent news for the region, with two other local companies – Maher Ltd and Nikken – also being awarded contracts.

“Strategic supply chain relationships are very important to Boeing and, from the outset, we have been working closely with other suppliers to build partnerships and explore ways where we can harness our collective expertise to offer new solutions.”

“Our standardised design and development process and unique joining and assembly techniques mean we only use the exact amount of material needed, ensuring we can deliver fixtures quicker and more cost effectively than our rivals,” continued Richard Gould, sales manager at MetLase.

“This is the first stage of what Boeing wanted. The next phase is to develop intelligent fixtures that provide real time data on performance and will either alert engineers if an issue arises or correct it automatically.”

He concluded: “Industry 4.0, big data and smart manufacturing is crucial to the success of global manufacturing. Our aim is to create an intelligent fixturing system that tells the next production stage in the process exactly what has happened before.”