- FPT Industries
FPT Industries was formed in
1939as Fireproof Tanks Ltd (commonly known as FPT) [http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/abcce2272d1c0fe0fd598099b40c78d9/compdetails] in the boardroom of Airspeed Ltdat PortsmouthAirport in response to an Air Ministry requirement for the development and manufacture of self-sealing fuel tanksfor the impending war with Germany.
The intention of the board of directors was to commence work on the manufacture of self-sealing fuel tanks for aircraft entering service with the Royal Air Force, the highest priority being the
Fairey Battlesingle engined bomberwhich although obsolete was regarded as a front line bomber by the Royal Air Force.
The early tanks were of welded
aluminiumstructure with the sealing material applied as a composite layer on the outside. A major problem with welded aluminium tanks is weld decayand metal fatiguein the seams due to vibrationin service. In response to this, the company started to develop flexible fuel bladders in the early 1940s. One of the earliest examples of this was a composite flexible fuel bladder with self sealing coatings for the Supermarine SpitfireMkIX.
During the war years and into the emerging
jetage, Fireproof Tanks Ltd developed new technologies in rubberformulation, moulding and sheet production in order to remain a leader in other specialist markets such as the creation of hovercraftskirts. Working with Saunders Roeat Coweson the Isle of Wight, the company became so important to the hovercraft industry that the now renamed FPT Industries was bought by the British Hovercraft Corporationin 1966.
Rationalisation of the aircraft industry
The British Hovercraft Corporation was bought out by
Westland Helicoptersof Yeoviland a period of stability came as Westlands developed cutting edge composite materialmanufacture as part of their approach to advanced helicopterdesign and hovercraftconstruction. This paid dividends with advances in rotor bladedesign such as BERPnow seen on the Westland Lynxand EH101 helicopters.
Post 1990 and the GKN buyout
In the 1990s, Westland Group were purchased by
GKNPlc who restructured the businesses before selling their shares in Westland Helicopters to Agustaof Italy. Finding the advanced composite business that Westlands had developed attractive, GKN retained the other Westland companies and renamed them as GKN Aerospace.
During this time, FPT Industries diversified again by developing advanced materials for helicopter
Emergency Flotation Systems(EFS) and now manufactures EFS equipment for many large commercial and military helicopter types.
GKN Aerospace Services Ltd-FPT Industries, as the business is now known, still manufacture self sealing fuel tanks, and other fuel systems as well as helicopter EFS.
FPT Industries, together with Portsmouth Aviation and Hants & Sussex Aviation, are now all that remain of the once large aircraft manufacturing base at
Portsmouth Airport(UK)which built aircraft such as the Airspeed Oxford, the Horsa gliderand the Hawker Siddeley Trident. fpt industries
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.