Coventry, UK, February 2 2012 – Bladon Jets, the pioneers of breakthrough micro jet engine technology, today announced the opening of its Engineering Centre in Coventry, UK. The new centre houses advanced manufacturing and development facilities to help the company prepare its innovative products for volume production.
The Engineering Centre was formally opened by Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, which is an investor in the company through its UK subsidiary Tata Ltd. The ceremony was attended by representatives from Coventry City Council, and key business advisers, partners, and suppliers.
“The opening of our new Engineering Centre is a major milestone in achieving our goal of turning Bladon Jets into an industry-leading global business,” said Paul Barrett, chairman and technical director, Bladon Jets.
“As we undertake the exciting next stage of our evolution, this centre will provide us with vital new resources to accelerate the development of our micro gas turbines as we gear up for volume manufacture.
“Coventry is at the heart of the UK motor industry, as well as being a growing centre of excellence for the next generation of low-carbon vehicle technologies. Our new base gives us access to a wealth of engineering skills and expertise, and brings us closer to many of our key suppliers and partners,” he added.
Leading the world in miniaturised jet engines
Bladon Jets – which provided the experimental propulsion unit behind the stunning Jaguar C-X75 hybrid electric concept car – is leading the world in the creation of miniaturised jet engines.
These small, light and clean-burning power units are ideally suited to the needs of a number of fast-growing markets. Among the most significant of these are electrical power generation and ‘range extenders’ for electric vehicles.
Having developed the patented manufacturing technology which makes it possible to produce the micro power units, Bladon Jets is currently working with its partners and suppliers to commercialise products for these volume markets.
The Engineering Centre in Coventry provides a new focus for those development efforts.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, said: “It gives me great pleasure to open the new Bladon Jets Engineering Centre, and to mark a significant step forward in the evolution of this innovative company.”
Business Minister Mark Prisk said: “I am delighted that the Government has been able to support Bladon Jets’ collaborative projects with Jaguar Land Rover and others on low carbon vehicle development through the Technology Strategy Board.
“Today’s opening of its new Engineering Centre demonstrates the UK’s world class low carbon technology credentials and is another step forward for the Government’s ambition to make the UK a leader in the design, development, manufacture and use of low carbon vehicles.”
Advanced development facility
The Bladon Jets Engineering Centre in Coventry employs 15 people, and houses the state-of-the-art design tools, analysis equipment and production machines required to develop and produce micro jet engines.
Key technologies include the Electric Discharge Machining (EDM) spark erosion machines which are capable of creating ultra-high-precision turbine components required for the micro jets. These components are machined from solid metal, with an accuracy of +/- 5 microns – just one-twentieth the width of a human hair.
“We have led the industry in developing advanced manufacturing techniques using EDM, and the new Engineering Centre gives us access to the latest design and production technologies under one roof,” explained Paul Barrett.
“Bladon Jets would not be here today without the generous help of our partners, including Coventry City Council, WMG at the University of Warwick, and our technology partners A&M Precision Machining, IMS Metrology, Greeve Electronics, Materials Solutions metallurgists and Sodi-Tech EDM.
“With the help of Professor Philip Ruffles CBE and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, and partnerships with leading global organisations like Tata and Jaguar Land Rover, Bladon Jets is now perfectly placed to move its business to the next level,” he said.