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WSU-NIAR-Solvay Inauguration

Solvay-NIAR Manufacturing Innovation Center opens

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Partnership allows for increased efficiencies and performance, charting a new path for the future of aviation.

Today, Solvay, a global leader in advanced materials for aerospace, and Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) celebrated the official opening of their joint Manufacturing Innovation Center dedicated to enabling the future of flight through advances in composite technologies. The center is located within NIAR’s Advanced Technologies Lab for Aerospace Systems (ATLAS).

At the Manufacturing Innovation Center, the country’s leading aviation companies will have access to 150,000 square feet of ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) compliant development, testing and prototyping facilities as well as the latest in advanced aviation material research. 

Companies will be able to fabricate entire aircraft structures such as wings and fuselages at a fraction of the cost of making it themselves. Using automated and high-rate processing with smart and agile manufacturing technologies, Solvay and NIAR engineers will work hand-in-hand with customers to test ideas and innovative structures in real time. These capabilities help to increase the adoption of composites, and allow aviation companies to meet increased performance and efficiency targets. 

Carmelo Lo Faro Solvay Circle Picture


“Our partnership with NIAR through this joint Manufacturing Innovation Center is an important milestone in Solvay’s ambition to help key customers across the United States advance the future of aerospace and defense,” said Carmelo Lo Faro, President of Solvay’s Materials Segment. “Here, we can explore the advantages of new composite material forms with the latest manufacturing technologies to create a lighter, safer and more sustainable aircraft of the future.” 


John Tomblin



“ATLAS is the future of aviation manufacturing, and we’re proud to provide a proving ground for some of the world’s most advanced aviation technologies and companies,” said John Tomblin, WSU senior vice president for Industry & Defense Programs and NIAR executive director. “Having Solvay’s material expertise on-site at this one-of-a-kind facility is a major asset for companies looking to explore what’s possible for future aircraft.”

Solvay’s strategic involvement with NIAR demonstrates how its advanced material innovation can help customers in the United States reduce time and excess costs to test new applications. Solvay engineers will work with customers across the  aerospace, defense, space and advanced air mobility markets.

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Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 21,000 employees in 63 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet roadmap crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering a better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €10.1 billion in 2021. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (SOLB). Learn more at

The National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University provides research, testing, certification and training for aviation and manufacturing technologies. Established in 1985, NIAR has a $190 million annual budget; a staff of 1,200; and 1.6 million square feet of laboratory and office space in six locations across the city of Wichita, the Air Capital of the World.