ATK delivers first composite parts for A350

The stringers that were delivered represent several configurations ATK produces using its Automated Stiffener Forming Machine (ASFM) manufacturing technology.

Alliant Techsystems (ATK, Magna, Utah, USA) announced on July 19 that it has shipped the first deliverables on the Airbus A350 XWB program. The recent deliveries include composite stringers for three different sections of the aircraft fuselage and were received by Aerolia in St Nazaire, France, in May, by Airbus in Nantes, France, in June, and by Premium Aerotec in Nordenham, Germany, earlier this month.

"The first deliveries by ATK on the A350 XWB program represent a significant milestone that will lead to a long-term growth opportunity for the company," said Joy de Lisser, vice president and general manager ATK Aerospace Structures. "The on-time delivery of composite components that meet all quality expectations is our top priority. By accomplishing that task, we will ensure customer satisfaction."

The stringers that were delivered represent several configurations that ATK is uniquely positioned to produce using its proprietary and patented Automated Stiffener Forming Machine (ASFM) manufacturing technology. Depending on the location on the aircraft fuselage, the parts are either Omega- or T- shaped, are straight or curved and twisted, and are thin or thick.

ATK's proprietary ASFM technology is instrumental in the manufacture of the A350 XWB composite stringers and provide a cost effective manufacturing method for these complex parts. The ASFM process reportedly allows ATK to produce extremely high-quality composite components with the greatest flexibility in design and unmatched repeatability. ATK's proprietary production processes reduce manufacturing time by up to 90 percent over traditional hand lay-up methods, while its advanced ultrasonic inspection process ensures quality and rapid delivery.

The overall ATK content on the A350 XWB includes components for fuselage and engines built for Airbus, Aerolia, Premium Aerotec, Spirit AeroSystems and Rolls Royce, representing the largest commercial program in ATK's history with total expected revenues of over $1 billion. At peak production, ATK expects to produce up to 25 miles of composite components per month for the A350 XWB fuselage.