Airbus deal could land prized hub

Airbus will sign an agreement today with Dayton-area officials that could eventually clear the way for Ohio companies – including companies in southwest Ohio — to dramatically increase their sales of components to the European manufacturer of commercial jets.

The agreement between Airbus and Kettering’s National Composite Center, a non-profit that promotes the creation of high technology jobs, increases the chances that a hub will be established in the Dayton area to train workers on building advanced and high-quality components for Airbus passenger jets.

The hub would provide training for companies throughout the country. But officials said locating the hub in the Dayton region would provide a major advantage to Ohio companies, many of whom already build airplane components.

Aerospace is a growing job supplier in Ohio, with as many as 120,000 people working at more than 1,200 companies scattered across the state.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and members of the Dayton Development Coalition will be at Ohio State University today when Airbus and the composite center sign a memorandum of understanding.

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“It’s a big deal because it enhances Ohio’s status as probably the No. 1 aerospace supplier in the country,’’ said Brown, who along with the coalition worked to encourage the creation of the hub. “This means there is going to be continued investment and growth in this industry.’’

The agreement does not commit the company and the composite center to actually create the hub. Instead, it means Airbus and the center will “investigate the creation’’ of what would be a centralized Ohio Materials Manufacturing Technology Hub.

The agreement follows a January announcement by Airbus of a five-year project with the composite center and a half-dozen companies to develop the next generation of advanced materials for commercial planes.

Airbus spent $4.3 billion on procurement in Ohio during 2009, the highest total in any state, according to Brown’s office. General Electric in suburban Cincinnati, Honeywell in Urbana, Alcoa in Newburgh Heights, and Aircraft Braking Systems in Akron are among the companies currently selling to Airbus.

Brown said a hub would focus on state-of-the-art materials processing, business analytics, supply chain development, and workforce training and development.

In January, the Dayton Daily News reported that NanoSperse LLC, housed within the composite center, 2000 Composite Drive, Kettering, has been producing a compound used to coat military jet engine parts to protect them against erosion.

Brown, Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor and National Composite Center management in January said the five-year project with Airbus would give NanoSperse an opportunity to serve the bigger market for commercial aircraft.

NanoSperse has been producing the compound for Springboro-based Renegade Materials Corp. which uses it for a film that is applied to GE jet engine parts. NanoSperse specializes in nanotechnology, in which particles of substances much smaller than human hair fibers are introduced into existing materials to give them new properties such as increased durability.

Airbus is the aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Located in France, Airbus is a major developer of commercial jet liners, including the A380 which is the largest commercial jet liner in the world.

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