Automated fiber placement and tape layer manufacturer Automated Dynamics (Schenectady, N.Y., USA) announced on July 29 that it has delivered a new piece of high-performance composite processing equipment to GKN Aerospace (Isle of Wight, U.K.). The machine has been installed in GKN’s new pre-production facility on the Isle of Wight, which will be at the heart of the next developments in the Environmental Lightweight Fan (ELF) research program. The program’s goal is to develop an all-composite engine fan blade that will improve aircraft engine performance and reduce emissions.
Automated Dynamics’ equipment will help GKN Aerospace effectively manufacture the complex, often curved aero-engine structures of the future.
“Composite materials offer the benefits of low weight and high strength and are corrosion-free and fatigue-resistant. Their use reduces aircraft fuel consumption and emission while also cutting costly and time-consuming maintenance activities,” said Phil Grainger, chief engineer, GKN (CTAL).
Grainger also noted that the application of composite materials on airframes has increased from 1 percent to 60 percent of an aircraft’s structure over the last 30 years.
“We’re proud to have developed this machine for GKN Aerospace,” said Jim Harty, vice president, sales and marketing, Automated Dynamics. “Our ability to tailor automation of fiber placement and tape laying equipment provide production-ready solutions for our clients and helps them realize a rapid return-on-investment. We’re confident this will be the case for GKN.”
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Applications within the aerospace industry include loaded clips and brackets, interiors and seating among other commercial aircraft applications.