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Hexcel Demonstrates New Composite Developments at Australian Airshow

18 March 2005

Hexcel is exhibiting at the Australian Airshow 2005 to reinforce its commitment to composites manufacturing in the region and promote new developments for aircraft programmes such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787.

Hexcel, recently named as the local Hawker De Havilland’s preferred supplier for the Boeing 787 programme, has a significant presence in Australia and throughout the Pacific Rim region, with its regional headquarters in Melbourne and other sales offices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Bangalore, with an office soon to be opened in Kuala Lumpur.

Hexcel manufacturing facilities in the region include a joint venture with Dainippon Ink and Chemicals, Inc. (DIC) in a composite materials plant, located in Komatsu, Japan. Products manufactured by DIC-Hexcel Ltd include prepregs, honeycombs, laminates and panels. The plant has recently been accredited to JIS Q 9100 and JIS Q 9001, which are specified by the International Aerospace industry and equivalent to the US AS9100 and European prEN9100. They are required by Boeing and key Japanese customers including Fuji Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Other Hexcel joint venture manufacturing facilities in the Asia Pacific region include plants which manufacture composite structures: BHA Aero in Tianjin, China and Asian Composites in Bukit Kiyu Hitam, Malaysia.

At the Australian airshow Hexcel will promote a range of new technologies developed specifically to meet the requirements for new aerospace programmes. HexPly M21 is tough, third generation epoxy matrix, with greater damage tolerance than second-generation aerospace systems. The high residual compression strength of HexPly M21 provides effective translation of fibre properties and demonstrates good hot-wet properties at temperatures up to 130°C. In addition to being qualified for use on A380, HexPly M21 fully meets the requirements of BMS8-276 specification.

HexPly M50 is Hexcel’s newly launched self-adhesive prepreg system for aircraft sandwich panels. This self-adhesive prepreg bonds directly to the honeycomb, thereby eliminating the need for additional adhesive layers, with potential weight-savings of up to 10%. Cost savings result not only from the reduced material count but also from the removal of adhesive lay-up operations.

Hexcel’s latest honeycomb innovation for the aerospace industry is HexWeb HRH-36 Flexcore. This new honeycomb combines Hexcel’s unique flexible cell geometry with the latest high performance core material. Constructed from Kevlar (DuPont trademark) paper and reinforced with a high temperature resistant phenolic resin, HexWeb HRH-36 Flexcore provides strength retention at up to 175°C/350°F and retains its mechanical properties in a curved condition. Typical applications are radomes, ducts, leading edges of wings and stabilisers. HexMC is Hexcel’s new high performance carbon fibre/epoxy moulding compound, designed for the press moulding of composite parts. HexMC is suitable for large volume production of complex 3D high performance parts, allowing for thickness variations, sharp angles, ribs, stiffeners and co-moulded inserts. Processing HexMC is quick and efficient, using an automated SMC type production. There is no costly and time-consuming lay-up or scrap, and as the part is moulded into perfect shape, no finishing processes are required. HexForce NC2 multiaxial reinforcements are a new concept non crimp technology, ideal for use with direct processes. NC2 allows great flexibility of fibre orientation and width of the reinforcement and can produce thick materials with thin plies, thereby providing customers with a cost-effective solution that saves time during production. This new technology can accommodate heavy tows and high modulus fibres, with total freedom regarding ply orientation. An illustration of the effectiveness of this approach is the vertical stabilizer of the newly launched Dassault Falcon 7X. The Falcon 7X has a composite vertical stabilizer (carbon, epoxy) built using Resin Transfer moulding technology in a way that is cost-competitive and enables a high production rate. The fin box is manufactured using a one shot RTM process with HexFlow RTM 6 matrix combined with Hexcel NC2 multiaxial reinforcements.






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