MAG IAS (Erlanger, Ky., USA) reported on Feb. 14 that it has expanded its presence in the Chinese aerospace industry with the sale of the first composite processing system from a U.S. company. The new CHARGER low-rail gantry contour carbon fiber tape layer, to be installed in Shanghai, will produce composite wings, horizontal stabilizers and central wing boxes for Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China’s (COMAC) C919 and C929 commercial passenger jets, slated to enter service in 2016.
According to Chip Storie, MAG executive vice president aerospace, "This sale of the first U.S.-made automated tape layer for the Chinese market builds on MAG's successes in China's growing aerospace industry. Shanghai Aircraft already has dozens of MAG machine tools in production in its manufacturing operation. This further solidifies MAG as the premier supplier of advanced manufacturing equipment for commercial aerospace production in China." Shanghai Aircraft is the major production facility of the COMAC. This tape layer will be installed in the new COMAC Pudong composite facility.
"The Chinese aerospace industry is booming, and this sale is a breakthrough for U.S. machinery exports in general and MAG in particular," Storie added. "We are highly encouraged about the potential for follow up sales, where our global reach as an integrated supplier of composites and metal cutting solutions offers customers advantages in engineering and local service support through our Shanghai tech center."
MAG's CHARGER Series machines lay 75-, 150- or 300-mm (3, 6 or 12 inches) wide carbon/epoxy tape with any orientation and number of plies, over tool surfaces with contours, flats and changing geometries. The next-generation re-engineered contour tape head allows side loading of tape rolls up to 300 mm/12 inches wide and 650 mm/25.6 inches in diameter. The new head also features integrated ultrasonic laminate cutting, cutter depth-setting assistance and dockable inkjet marking.