Phil Owens of Adient and Kim Robinson of EVIC

Aerospace company quadruples space at Ebbw Vale Innovation Centre

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A world-leading aerospace company has boosted its presence at Ebbw Vale Innovation Centre (EVIC) and praised the calibre of engineers to be found in South Wales.

Phil Owens of Adient and Kim Robinson of EVIC

Delighted with facilities: Phil Owens of Adient and Kim Robinson of EVIC

Adient Aerospace, which has its headquarters in Washington, designs and makes luxury seating and furniture for Business and Economy Class, and has quadrupled its office and workshop space at EVIC.

Ex-steelworker, Phil Owens, who is in charge of Adient’s Ebbw Vale design studio at EVIC, is delighted with the facilities, and says the Innovation Centre has proved to be the perfect home for the prestigious international company. EVIC is owned and run by UKSE, a subsidiary of Tata Steel.

“We have increased our space here four-fold since we arrived , and now have a team of 24 here in five offices and a workshop, and this skilled team works on design and development of furniture and seating. UKSE has been very flexible and supportive, working with us to adapt to our needs, and this has helped enormously,” he said.

Another important attraction is the quality of staff that Adient Aerospace, a joint venture  between Adient and the Boeing Company, has been able to recruit locally. “It can be a struggle to find engineers of the right calibre, but there is definitely a vein of talent here in South Wales which we continue to tap into,” he said.

This high level of skills available is largely due, he feels, to the strong aerospace sector in South Wales which employs some 23,000 people, as well as the region’s historical connection with engineering and heavy industry.

The Adient team in EVIC works on designs for luxury furniture in Business and Economy Class for some of the most renowned airline clients including Qatar Airways.

“We are constantly striving to improve and innovate our designs in an ever-changing and challenging industry, “ he says. “In the future, as fuel economy becomes increasingly important, planes will almost certainly be narrower to make them more efficient, and this of course puts more pressure on seating designers to maintain standards of comfort and craftsmanship.”

Kim Robinson of EVIC said she and the team at the Innovation Centre are delighted to have worked with Adient Aerospace to accommodate their needs.

“EVIC is a home to many high-tech businesses and has outstanding facilities, including fully- equipped meeting rooms, a gym and sauna complex for tenants, and is well-located in the heart of South Wales with excellent communications.

“Our relationship with Adient Aerospace is the perfect example of how we work closely with tenants to understand, and respond to, their ongoing needs as they grow and their presence here develops,” she added.

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