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Propelling the aerospace industry

Propelling the aerospace industry

11 Apr 2023

UMW Holdings Bhd’s unit, UMW Aerospace Sdn Bhd, has secured a new contract from Rolls-Royce Plc to produce rear cases for the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 and Trent 7000 aircraft engines with a potential investment of up to RM65mil.

The announcement was made by International Trade and Industry (Miti) minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, who said the investment is poised to boost the local aerospace industry.

He also expressed confidence about UMW Aerospace’s second contract from Rolls-Royce, which would have a positive spillover effect on the country’s economy, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), while creating high value jobs for Malaysians.

UMW Aerospace is expected to set up the chemical milling and related processes to manufacture the rear cases for the Rolls-Royce’s aircraft engines at its facility in the UMW high value manufacturing park in Serendah, Selangor.

Tengku Zafrul told a press conference after his visit to the UMW Aerospace facility yesterday that the latter’s development into the chemical milling and related processes would positioned Malaysia as the first country in South-East Asia to have such a capability, thus strengthening the local aerospace ecosystem.

“This is also in line with the government’s National Investment Aspiration, which has identified aerospace as one of the five key target sectors to elevate the country’s industrial profile, while facilitating knowledge transfers, supporting local SMEs and creating more higher-paying jobs for Malaysians,” he pointed out.

With the contract, he said UMW Aerospace would be developing the components on its own or in-house, instead of depending on imports from the United States.

Tengku Zafrul noted that the latest contract win was proof that multinationals corporations had perceived Malaysia’s industrial landscape as stable and conducive for their global supply chain.

“We need to reinforce our position in terms of supplying to multinational corporations, thanks to our supply chain resiliency,” he explained.

Tengku Zafrul said UMW Aerospace’s contract would help to fulfill the key objectives under the Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030, which is to strengthen the nation’s aerospace industry and elevate its position in the global supply chain.

He lauded UMW Aerospace for its commitment towards sustainability, recognising some of its efforts in driving a sustainable ecosystem.

UMW Aerospace’s continuous efforts towards sustainable practices such as the installation of rooftop solar panels to utilise renewable energy as well as rainwater harvesting to reduce water consumption in its operations, has led the company to be a member of Rolls-Royce’s sustainability working group.

Recognising the strategic importance of the aerospace industry, Tengku Zafrul said the industry’s multiplier effect is far greater than that of other industries.

He said that having the intellectual property on this business, would see many other investors coming into the country.

“This is as we build one part of the supply chain, other parts will come subsequently,” he added.

He noted the aerospace industry in Malaysia is focused on exports, with almost everything manufactured being exported.

Meanwhile, head of national aerospace industry coordinating office, under the Miti, Prof Shamsul Kamar Abu Samah is optimistic that the aerospace industry will be able to generate RM30bil revenue by 2025, from RM11.6bil in 2020, as planned under the 12th Malaysia Plan to elevate the country into the high technology trajectory.

However, he said commitment from various agencies including Miti is important to achieve the aspiration.

In 2022, Malaysia’s aerospace industry achieved more than RM15.3bil in revenue, while exports for aerospace parts and components increased 9.1% year-on-year to RM6.3bil.

Two aerospace projects worth RM146.75mil were approved in 2022, involving the aerospace manufacturing and maintenance, repair and operation sectors. In August 2015, UMW Aerospace made its mark in the aerospace industry when it became Malaysia’s first homegrown Tier 1 aero engine component supplier to Rolls-Royce upon receiving a 25-plus-five-year contract to manufacture and assemble fan cases for the latter’s Trent 1000 and Trent 7000 aircraft engines.

The company’s fan case project for Rolls-Royce took two years to take off from ground zero to maiden delivery and is recognised as one of the fastest aerospace engine component development programmes of its kind.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce president of South-East Asia, Pacific and South Korea Bicky Bhangu said the company would continue its trusted partnership with UMW Aerospace in Malaysia.

“This is a market, which we have been active in for over 60 years. We will continue to regard Malaysia as one with enormous potential, not just within aerospace, but also its ability to drive broader economic growth and positively contribute to the South-East Asia region as a whole,” he added. Since starting operations in August 2016, UMW Aerospace has maintained a remarkable safety record of over 2,400 days without industrial accident or zero lost-time-injury.

According to UMW Holdings president and group chief executive officer Datul Ahmad Fuaad Kenali, UMW Aerospace’s commitment to quality and excellence has led to various recognitions in recent years.

Naming some achievements, Ahmad Fuaad said UMW Aerospace had received the Trusted to Deliver Excellence Award from Rolls-Royce in 2018.

“UMW Aerospace was also inducted into the 2021 Cohort of Rolls-Royce’s High Performing Supplier Group (HPSG), which represents the top 5% of Rolls-Royce’s global suppliers and has successfully maintained its position in the 2022 and 2023 cohorts of HPSG,” he added.

Source: The Star