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Composite wing structure milestone

Posted on 10 Nov 2019 and read 882 times
Composite wing structure milestoneGKN Aerospace has reached a major milestone in the ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ programme after designing, manufacturing and delivering a £24.4 million mid-scale demonstrator tool to the GKN Aerospace Filton facility near Bristol.

The tool provides a fully functioning automated low-pressure Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) system for the Airbus-led programme’s composite wing spar (considered to be one of the most challenging aerospace components to design and manufacture).

GKN Aerospace (www.gknaerospace.com) engineers have used proven tool-making knowledge from the automotive industry to develop the demonstrator.

The 4m development test-bed will deliver a semi-automated manufacturing solution and significantly improve the productivity of the composite manufacturing process, by removing one third of the production steps involved.

The technology will change from traditional pre-impregnated resin material to dry composite fibres that are injected with resin as part of the initial manufacturing process for the wing spar, resulting in significant weight savings.

GKN Aerospace is using its world-leading capability in the design and manufacture of composite wing spars and the assembly of fixed trailing edges — as proven on the A330, A400M and A350 — to ‘mature’ the key technologies.

The development work will stretch into 2021.

John Pritchard, its CEO for Aerostructures and Systems Europe and Asia, said: “We are proud to be a partner of Airbus in the Wing of Tomorrow research programme and excited about the delivery of the mid-size demonstrator tool.

"This development confirms GKN Aerospace’s world-leading position not just in RTM technology but also in advanced aero-structures manufacturing.”