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22. September 2016
The long view on aerocomposite structures

Now that the composites industry has absorbed the behemouths that are the composite-intensive Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 XWB commercial aircraft programs, and now that Boeing has selected its suppliers for the 777X wing fabrication program, it's time to look ahead and think more critically about where and how composites might or might not be used in future aircraft. This is particularly important as Boeing and Airbus contemplate replacing, respectively, the 737 and the A320, and as Boeing considers replacing the 757.

The assumption for some in the industry is that the 787 and the A350 are the new standard for composites use in commercial aircraft, and that new aircraft that follow will employ the same model. However, the factors that drove material use decisions in the 787 and the A350 are different than the factors that will drive material use in a new 737, A320 or 757. Further, 787 and A350 material decisions were made a decade (or longer) ago, and the landscapes of the composites industry and the aerospace industry are much different today. 

In the meantime, manufacturers of legacy materials, like aluminum, have responded aggressively to the composites incursion and are developing new materials of their own designed to claw back the market share lost on the 787 and A350 programs. And, if you throw titanium into the mix, then the materials use picture becomes even more muddled.

It's with all of this in mind that we here at CW have developed a new webinar, designed to take a long, unbiased, practical look at the aerospace supply chain and how composites fit into the aircraft material pallette. To do this, we've asked Kevin Michaels, president of AeroDynamic Advisory, to present "Aerospace Composites in the More for Less Era," on Oct. 7 at 2 pm EDT. 

This webinar will specifically evaluate how the overall aerospace materials supply chain has evolved over the last five years, and look ahead to the materials options aircraft OEMs face as legacy aircraft like the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 reach maturity and possible redesign. This webinar will also look at the challenges faced by increased composites use in commercial aerospace and how competing material suppliers are responding. 

Kevin Michaels might be familiar to some of you. His company, AeroDynamic Advisory, a consulting firm focused on the global aerospace and aviation industries. He has 30 years of aviation experience and is a globally recognized expert in the aerospace manufacturing and MRO sectors. He also has significant expertise in business-to-business marketing, customer satisfaction, M&A advisory, technology assessment, cluster development and strategic planning. Kevin is a contributing columnist to Aviation Week & Space Technology and serves on the advisory board of the University of Michigan’s Aerospace Engineering Department. 

If you have a stake in aerocomposites material development, or aerocompsites fabrication, I hope you will join us for what I am sure will be an interesting and thought-provoking webinar.

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