NetComposites
Advanced Engineering 2018

Nordam Pioneers Composite Window Frames for 787 Dreamliner

11 February 2007

Nordam has received approval from Boeing to supply its new composite window frame for the 787 Dreamliner.

For eighteen months, a dedicated team of Nordam and Boeing engineers worked together to develop detailed specifications, five unique design configurations, and qualification and certification testing used to produce the first composite window frame for a commercial airliner application. The initial ship sets have been delivered to Boeing's fuselage manufacturing partners: Alenia, Kawaski Heavy Industries, Spirit Aerosystems and Vought Aircraft Industries. Boeing representatives visited Nordam's headquarters in Tulsa, Okla. today to recognize Nordam's innovative design and contribution to the Dreamliner.

""Nordam is proud to be a partner with Boeing on the 787,"" said Rick Armstrong, Nordam vice president of sales and marketing for military and air transport. ""The Dreamliner is an innovative program for composites in airframe construction. The technology is an important part of our industry's future and to be on the leading edge of development is a great opportunity for us.""

After soliciting and evaluating responses from many composites manufacturers worldwide, Boeing selected Nordam to undertake the development of the 787 window frame. Nordam assembled a team of 30 dedicated stakeholders and began the design, development, manufacture, and certification of the composite window frame. To meet Boeing's technical requirements, Nordam engineers pioneered new manufacturing processes and partnered with Hexcel Corporation to utilize HexMC, an innovative product form of composite material which is derived from established aerospace industry high strength carbon fibre/epoxy tape in an SMC format.

""The 787 Dreamliner is a true step forward in aviation's use of composite materials. It has involved a significant amount of development and engineering expertise,"" said Al Miller, director of Advanced Technology for Boeing. ""Nordam said they could meet our specifications and they did. The window frame is a truly innovative product and has helped Boeing achieve performance targets for the aircraft.""

The 787's window frame has a significant impact on two key characteristics of the Dreamliner. The new low density, high strength composite frame results in almost a 50 percent weight savings over a traditional aluminium frame. In addition, the frame offers superior damage tolerance.

""Boeing and Nordam have succeeded in integrating advanced materials into new primary flight structures,"" said Gary Ball, vice president and general manager of Nordam Interiors and Structures. ""Developing the 787 window frame was an engineering and manufacturing challenge that resulted in new technology, process improvements, and valuable experience for our team. Nordam is in a great position to provide composite structure solutions for original equipment manufacturers in the commercial, military and business aviation aircraft markets.""

Nordam's Interiors and Structures Division, located in Tulsa, Okla., will supply thousands of frames per year. ""Our composite window frame is a great accomplishment,"" said Ball. ""We were not the first to try, but we were the first to succeed.""






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