Aurora Flight Sciences invests in fiber placement technology

Aurora Flight Sciences will install an Electroimpact automated fiber placement machine at its Columbus, Miss., facilty sometime in 2012.

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Aurora Flight Sciences (Manassas, Va., USA) announced on Nov. 17 its decision to make a major investment in automated fiber placement (AFP) technology that will be used to manufacture larger and more complex composite structures for the aerospace industry. Aurora plans to locate this equipment at its Columbus, Miss., USA, manufacturing facility.

After an extensive evaluation of potential suppliers, Aurora selected Electroimpact (Mukilteo, Wash., USA) to develop an AFP machine for delivery in 2012. Electroimpact machines feature modular, detachable AFP heads designed to permit flexibility in the manufacturing process.

“The acquisition of AFP technology is an important step in expanding Aurora’s aerospace manufacturing capabilities,” says John Langford, Aurora’s president and CEO. “AFP technology will allow Aurora to continue its leadership position in delivering affordable aerospace structures to both commercial and military aerospace customers.”

Aurora plans to use its new AFP capability for manufacturing programs with its key customers, including the U.S. government, Sikorsky Aircraft, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and newest customer, Gulfstream. Aurora expects to achieve significant advances in the size and complexity of the high-quality composite structures it can build using AFP technology. Aurora intends to use AFP equipment to produce composite aircraft structures for both current and future aerospace industry customers.