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GKN Produce Prototype A350 XWB Composite Wing Spars

  • Wednesday, 4th March 2009
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GKN Aerospace engineers in Germany and the UK have successfully reached the next stage in the development of the A350 XWB ‘s advanced composite rear wing spar, with the production of prototype composite spars for Airbus’ A350 XWB wing box demonstrator.

This achievement represents the latest milestone in GKN Aerospace’s work package for the A350 XWB – announced in September last year. This package gives GKN Aerospace responsibility for the development and supply of the composite spars and fixed trailing edge assemblies for the wings of this aircraft.

Composites development work is being undertaken by GKN Aerospace engineering teams in Munich and on the Isle of Wight and Filton in the UK, with the prototype assembly taking place at Yeovil, in the UK. The series manufacture of the composite spars and the trailing edge assemblies will be undertaken by the GKN Aerospace – Filton workforce using a new state of the art manufacturing facility which the company is now equipping for the task.

Frank Bamford, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, GKN Aerospace comments: “”The A350 XWB wing spar will is a major new package of work for our new Filton team who are currently detailing the processes, securing the capital equipment and training our people to take on the advanced automated manufacturing processes required. Our A350 XWB work is running on schedule to highly focused timescales and we expect manufacturing activity to commence at Filton within 12 months.””

GKN Aerospace is already responsible for the pioneering composite wing spar for the A400M military transporter. This assembly represents the first primary structure in carbon composite materials for the wing of a large transport aircraft. The company manufactures the complex spar sections using state of the art automated manufacturing processes – many developed by the GKN Aerospace engineering team. These skills will be evolved and re-applied at Filton for use in the manufacture of the A350 XWB wing spar.


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