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Hexcel Promotes its Cross Sector Innovations at JEC World

  • Tuesday, 7th March 2017
  • Reading time: about 6 minutes

Hexcel will be promoting a number of composite innovations for aerospace, wind energy, automotive and recreation industries at JEC World 2017.

Hexcel says that among the aerospace displays will be an Airbus A320neo fan cowl for the LEAP-1A engine manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space using Hexcel HexPl 8552/AS4 slit tape prepreg, HexFlow resin and HexForc woven carbon reinforcements.

According to Hexcel, it is a major supplier of composite materials for the A320neo airframe and for both engine options, supplying carbon prepreg and engineered core components for the Pure Power PW1100G-JM engine. For the LEAP-1A engine by CFM International, Hexcel supplies HexTo IM7 carbon fibre for all the fan blades and containment cases, in addition to HexPly carbon prepreg for the nacelles and engineered core for the inner trans cowl.

Later this year, Hexcel says it will start production at a new engineered core plant in Casablanca, Morocco, adding to existing engineered core facilities in the US and Belgium. Engineered core is flat honeycomb that Hexcel forms, shapes, machines and/or bonds to create high quality core details and assemblies to precise customer specifications. Hexcel explains it will promote engineered core at JEC World by displaying a main landing gear door by Daher for Gulfstream that demonstrates its expertise in splicing, forming and numerically controlled machining of honeycomb.

Hexcel explains it has more than 25 years of experience in developing out-of-autoclave (OOA) technologies for aerospace, and vacuum infusion is now a key technology for future aerospace programs, helping to meet the cost targets and production rate challenges for large structures.

To meet the required performance for aerospace structures, Hexcel has developed HiTape carbon fibre reinforcements for the automated lay-up of dry preforms for resin infusion. Hexcel will also display a C295 outer wing box demonstrator panel manufactured with HiTape reinforcements by Airbus Defence and Space as part of the APOLO-Cleansky2 project. After the automated lay-up of HiTape preforms for the panel stringer and spars, they were co-infused with Hexcel HexFlow epoxy resin in a cost-efficient, out-of-autoclave process. Hexcel says this part demonstrates that HiTape technology is an efficient composite solution for primary aircraft structures and a viable option to meet production rates and cost requirements for new aerospace programs.

Hexcel explains its HexMC moulding composite is a high performance carbon fibre/epoxy material designed for compression moulded parts, and it will display a single aisle wing access panel demonstrator manufactured from HexMC in a one-step process. HexMC technology enables the rapid manufacture of production parts with a fast cure cycle and net shape moulding. The material accommodates thickness changes and allows the incorporation of an integrated stiffener.

Hexcel’s other promotions will focus on a number of automotive technologies including a suspension knuckle made by Saint Jean Industries, in which the aluminum structure is stiffened with HexPly M77 prepreg stacks. Hexcel says the addition of prepreg results in a 26% increase in stiffness compared to the aluminum-only knuckle, without any increase in part volume. The aluminum/CFRP hybrid version can be incorporated in the existing space restrictions, allowing just one part design to be used across all models in the range. The CFRP increases the maximum strength before failure of the part, with optimum load distribution determined by its FEM calculations. Hexcel reports that it produces the net shape 2D preform in less than one minute. The prepreg stacks are bonded to the aluminum with Redux 677, its new fast curing film adhesive for the high volume processing of metal/CFRP hybrid structures. Redux 677 is designed for automated compression moulding and is ideal for bonding metals, thermosets and thermoplastics with HexPly M77 prepreg.

Hexcel’s composite materials portfolio now includes HiMax multiaxial fabrics manufactured in Leicester, UK. Hexcel will display a composite floor demonstrator manufactured for Jaguar Land Rover using HiMax carbon fibre multiaxial fabrics specifically optimised for high-volume composites manufacturing processes.

For this part, Hexcel explains that it created a non-crimp fabric with the optimum balance between drape, stability and permeability, using an automotive-grade standard modulus, high tow count carbon fibre. The high drape HiMax reinforcement conforms to the complex mould geometry of the part, minimising the defects typically seen with standard materials, while its permeability is optimised to enable fast resin injection and cure times required for high volume manufacturing.

Polyspeed pultruded carbon profiles are another new technology developed by Hexcel. According to Hexcel, these pre-cured, thick-ply carbon fibre elements offer an economical way of structurally reinforcing wind turbine blades and any other industrial application requiring load-carrying performance. Carbon fibre tows are impregnated with a thermoset resin and shaped and cured in a continuous pultrusion process, resulting in perfect fibre alignment and a smooth surface. The controlled resin and fibre content result in consistent quality, weight and mechanical properties including impact performance, fracture toughness and shear strength. This technology enables very large parts to be made with no restrictions on the part length, other than their transportability. At JEC World, Hexcel says it will display a 2-meter diameter carbon laminate coil made from Polyspeed carbon fibre pultrusion for the structural reinforcement of a wind turbine blade.

Other industrial promotions on Hexcel’s stand will include the latest bike model from Trek bikes. The Trek Domane SLR 10 RSL is made with its HexPly fast-curing carbon fibre/epoxy prepreg that it explains was specially developed for quick cure cycles for faster production in recreational environments without any compromise and also gives improved toughness and impact performance.

Hexcel will also exhibit a wind blade section showing the various carbon and glass materials that it supplies for this industry. These include HexPly M79 prepregs optimised for low temperature cure and fast cycle times, HiMax dry non-crimp fabrics optimised for infusion technologies, and its cured carbon products for load bearing applications.

In 2016, Hexcel says it made a number of investments to expand the company’s portfolio and support the development of next-generation, advanced composite technologies that provide improved material performance and lightweighting solutions for aerospace and industrial applications. Carbon Composites Incorporated (CCI), Oxford Performance Materials (OPM) and Luminati Aerospace will be promoted via a video presentation at its stand, and representatives from all companies will be at the show.

Visit Hexcel in Hall 5A, Stand J41 at JEC World 2017.


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