06 May 2012
06 May 2012
Umeco manufactured a suite of large-scale tooling mandrels for GKN Aerospace using their tooling prepregs and GKN now uses these tools to produce Airbus A350 XWB rear wing spars using advanced fibre-placement (AFP) technology.
According to Umeco, they were asked by GKN to design and manufacture low-weight, low-cost mandrels exhibiting high stiffness and excellent geometric accuracy (essential requirements due to a maximum permissible 2mm deflection allowance at the mandrel mid-point).
Umeco explain that the mandrels consisted of machined foam cores over-laminated with their LTM217 epoxy tooling resin system combined with woven carbon fibre and ultra-high modulus unidirectional carbon fibres. The mandrels were then machined in their assembled state to the final spar dimensions, within the specified ±0.25mm tolerance. They say the suite of tooling mandrels (measuring 13.7, 12 and 11.9m) provide GKN Aerospace with undeniable benefits:
Liam Moloney, Umeco Engineering Manager – Tooling, said “We were pleased by the prospect of working with GKN Aerospace and applying our tooling expertise and prepregs on a project of this magnitude. These tooling mandrels set a new challenge for us, but we rose to the occasion and succeeded, both for us and also for our customer. The tooling mandrels are now being used to manufacture wing spars for aircraft which are setting the standards in aviation.”
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NTPT is collaborating with the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne - Swiss Centre of Technology (EPFL) and other partners to research discontinuous fibre composite tubes for high performance applications.