Icon Aerospace Technology Flies High On Prime-Time BBC Show

A local engineering company was sprung into the spotlight recently, after being chosen to be featured in a prime-time BBC Two programme.

Retford-based Icon Aerospace Technology was featured in the January 4 edition of Great British Railway Journeys and hosted presenter Michael Portillo, as he made the journey from Newark-On-Trent to Stockton, through Nottinghamshire.

During his journey, the well-respected broadcaster looked at the market town’s heritage as a major manufacturer of rubber products, a legacy that is being continued today by the work Icon is doing for the international aerospace industry. The programme explored its vibrant history and looked forward to the exciting technologies being developed by the company today.

Since its foundation, Icon has designed and manufactured specialty engineered products, becoming a globally recognised supplier within the prestigious aerospace industry. In the episode, Michael Portillo heard about Icon’s heritage as the Northern Rubber Company, and viewed 21st century fire seals utilised within jet engines, components that have been specially engineered to withstand extremely high temperatures. The programme also explored the latest inflight refuelling hose technology being pioneered in Retford. This work has enabled Icon to become a major supplier to leading aerospace businesses, such as Airbus, Bombardier, Rolls Royce and Triumph Aerostructures.

Icon’s Director of Materials and Technology, Mike Heslop, took Michael Portillo through an aerospace seal fire test, to demonstrate the durable, high strength properties of the material construction, used by the company to manufacture aircraft seals. In addition to surviving high temperatures with no damage, the material is also capable of surviving temperatures as low as -60ºC. Thomas Wagstaff, Manufacturing Manager at Icon, also revealed a new technology that the business is working on for an in-flight refuelling hose, which utilises data fibres to enable unmanned aircraft to communicate. This is one of the many cutting edge technological breakthroughs that the company is working on every day.

Mike Heslop commented: “It was a real honour to have some of our rich history captured in Great British Railway Journeys on BBC Two, and to welcome Michael Portillo to our Retford manufacturing site. This business, and this small market town, both have vast histories of pioneering the development and manufacture of products in a host of global industries. As a company, we are consistently breaking boundaries to deliver the most effective and innovative solutions to sectors including aerospace, transport, energy, and industry.”

View the episode online

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