New advanced composites components have entered service on Bombardier Aerospace’s Next Generation regional jets, following Bombardier’s £8m investment in the development of its advanced composites capabilities in Belfast.
The composite flaps, vanes and ailerons for the Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 NextGen aircraft are being produced in a new 20,000 square feet dedicated facility in Bombardier’s plant in Dunmurry, west Belfast, using an innovative Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) technology.
The RTM composite wing components are being fitted to Northwest Airlines’ CRJ900 NextGen regional jets, one of which was on display in Bombardier’s static area at the Paris Air Show. Northwest’s first CRJ900 NextGen entered service in early June. The application of the RTM components will become standard on all CRJ700 NextGen and CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, including the new CRJ1000. An example of the RTM flap and other composites technology were also on exhibit in Bombardier’s pavilion at the Air Show.
According to Bombardier, the RTM process allows for the manufacture of components in a much more integrated and efficient way than the traditional composites process, and requires fewer parts. For example, the total number of parts needed to assemble the wing components has fallen by almost 80 per cent for the aileron and 95 per cent for the flap and the vane. Benefits to airlines include reduced inspection and maintenance costs, as advanced composite structures do not suffer corrosion like metal. RTM also offers the potential for reduced weight and improved aerodynamics, which contribute to fuel efficiency and environmental benefits.
Commenting on the investment in its composites capabilities, Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: “Bombardier has over 30 years’ experience in composites, and this investment helps to reinforce our position as a centre of excellence in this field. We are investing in the next generation of composite technologies, in particular resin transfer infusion technologies such as RTM, to ensure Bombardier is at the forefront of the application of carbon fibre reinforced structures, which are playing an increasing role in new aircraft design.
“Following five years of strategic research, it is particularly gratifying to see these world-class technologies being applied and entering service on the latest Bombardier aircraft, and we look forward to further developing these for future aircraft.”
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