Public Release: 

UofSC's McNair Center partners with Fokker Technologies for aerospace research

Dutch company's signs first research partnership with American university

University of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C--The Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, a University of South Carolina center, announced a formal research partnership with Fokker Aerostructures, a subsidiary of Dutch-based Fokker Technologies, to support and inspire their development of next-generation aircraft technology.

The multi-year research agreement establishes a framework to collaborate on projects that meet the needs of Fokker Aerostructures and its customers. Specific project details are being finalized, and likely will involve the development of advanced manufacturing technology for thermoplastic composites, using Digital Image Correlation to better understand failure mechanisms and certification strategies for the use of new advanced composite structures.

Fokker is a leading global aerospace specialist that delivers smart, integrated, economic solutions that offer technology benefits in terms of cost, weight and availability. This is the company's first partnership with an American university research center.

The McNair Center, which opened in 2011, has 27 contributing researchers working in a wide range of aerospace related research fields. The goal of the partnership is to develop and commercialize new technology, processes and methods and take products to market through licensing agreements.

Richard Cobben, vice president technology and Rob Kruithof, director of global Engineering for Fokker Aerostructures, say two things attracted the company to McNair--geography and existing research expertise.

"South Carolina is an interesting environment because there are so many aeronautics companies located nearby, such as Gulfstream, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Cessna and Honda jet, and many of their suppliers. McNair is situated in the center of all of that activity," Cobben said. "Although the McNair Center is new, it's clear that they bring to the table a lot of experience in different fields. We're always looking to find the best knowledge networks--that's our lifeline."

In addition to the research agreement, Fokker Aerostructures will join the McNair Center's Strategic Advisory Board, which is chartered to help build and validate McNair's future research roadmaps.

Zafer Gurdal, director of the McNair Center, said the research agreement is an important step in establishing the McNair as a top destination for industry to partner with for research and services.

Michel van Tooren, deputy director of the McNair Center said, "Fokker is a world-class company and we're excited about this partnership to not only raise the profile of McNair, but to use leading-edge technology to make aircraft faster, safer and more efficient."

This Research Agreement is the result of a comprehensive six month effort, to establish and develop McNair's capabilities and expertise with Fokker officials. It also represents a significant coordination effort across various offices and functions at USC. Marty Keaney, executive director of the McNair Center, gave credit to the extended McNair team of researchers, staff and business offices from across USC. "The level of professionalism and enthusiasm from the USC family made developing this research concept smooth and successful," Keaney said.


About the McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research

The McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research at the University of South Carolina is named in honor of South Carolina native and astronaut Ronald E. McNair. Formed in 2011, it is dedicated to bringing together top researchers and industry leaders to meet the technological demands of tomorrow's aerospace market. McNair's research is based on specific industry needs and involves a wide range of areas, including: analysis and design; polymeric, metallic and ceramic composites; lightweight metals; stir friction welding and processing; advanced composite structures and certification, durability, fatigue analysis; and health monitoring and condition based maintenance of lightweight structures.

About Fokker Technologies

Fokker Technologies is a specialist in the design, development and production of lightweight aerostructures, electrical wiring interconnection systems and landing gear for the aerospace and defense industry. The group also provides maintenance, modification and logistic services to aircraft owners and operators. Headquartered in Papendrecht the Netherlands, Fokker Technologies owns facilities in the Netherlands, Romania, Turkey, USA, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and China. In 2013 the group achieved a turnover of € 762 million with 4.688 employees.

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