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At this year’s JEC Composites show, Hexcel promoted its latest innovations for Aerospace, Wind Energy and Automotive markets.
Over seventy percent of Hexcel’s business is aerospace-related and last year Hexcel was awarded the biggest contract in its 61 year history to supply primary structure prepreg for the Airbus A350 XWB. This contract is expected to generate revenues of over $4 billion through to 2025.
At JEC this year Hexcel promoted HexPly M56, a new Out of Autoclave (OOA) prepreg for aerospace composite structures. Unlike traditional aerospace prepregs that require an autoclave cure to achieve the required properties, Hexcel say that HexPly M56 provides the same quality and performance from a simple oven cure under vacuum. This avoids capital investment in autoclave equipment and on-going processing costs.
Hexcel customer AleniaAermacchi loaned Hexcel a special acoustic panel to display at the show. The Double Degree of Freedom (2DOF) Zero-Splice Acoustic Panel is the result of joint cooperation between the two companies on the development of Hexcel’s HexWeb AcoustiCap honeycomb and core splicing technology. The joint activity resulted in the preparation of several 2DOF specimens that were submitted to acoustic testing. The test programmes revealed excellent consistency between the measured and predicted values.
The sound-absorption obtained from the 2DOF panel design is further increased by the “zero splice” configuration that prevents the generation of scattering modes while offering a wider sound-reducing area and a low weight solution. This configuration is now offered by AleniaAermacchi for all current and future acoustic inlet designs.
Hexcel also promoted its HexTOOL machinable composite tooling material and launched an epoxy version to complement the BMI product, HexTOOL M61. The new HexTOOL® M81 cures in 6 hours at 125° C, followed by a post cure of 2 hours at 205°C. It is designed for the manufacture of 120°C curing parts for Aerospace and Automotive applications.
In wind energy, Hexcel also promoted its range of composites for wind blades including prepregs, HexFIT infusion materials, reinforcements and drilled honeycomb (which facilitates air flow in mould tools). The spotlight was on Hexcel’s new surfacing prepreg for Wind Energy, HexPly XF2P that they say provides a ready to paint surface that is tough and durable without the need for gel coat. This results in man-hour savings by avoiding the resin mixing and pre-gelling processes and eliminates the stocking of reactive gel coat ingredients.
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