Composites Horizons to build ceramic matrix composites facility

California-based Composites Horizons will build a 35,000-sq-ft ceramic matrix composite facility to supply oxide ceramic matrix composite parts to GE Aviation for the exhaust system of a new aircraft engine program.

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Composites Horizons LLC (Covina, Calif., USA), a division of AIP Aerospace, announced on May 6 the creation of a ceramic matrix composite (CMC) facility adjacent to its existing polymer matrix composite (PMC) facilities in Covina. The 35,000-ft2/3,252m2 building will be dedicated to the manufacture of sophisticated oxide ceramic matrix composites (OX/OX CMC).

Composites Horizons also reports that it has been selected by GE Aviation as a supplier of components for an OX/OX CMC exhaust system for a key business aircraft engine program. This award represents the largest contract in Composites Horizons 30-year history.

Included with the expansion is an $11 million investment in new equipment and processes for all four existing facilities. The new facility will house a 4,000-ft2/372m2 cleanroom with a dedicated ply cutter, laser projection and a team of personnel trained in oxide ceramic production. The new facility will also include a 15,000-ft2/1,394m2 assembly area and a sintering furnace with 8-ft3/0.23m3 capacity and 2500°F/1371°C temperature capability. Ultimately, the building will include two dedicated autoclaves, an additional production sintering furnace, a smaller development furnace, 5-axis CNC machining centers, quality inspection capability for CMC products, and the company’s executive offices.

Also included in the expansion are three 5-axis CMC mills to be added to current machining capabilities, and a new high-temperature 12 ft by 25 ft (3.7m by 7.6m) autoclave installed adjacent to its current 10 ft by 20 ft (3m by 6.1m) 800°F/427°C autoclave in the high-temperature PMC lay-up building.

Composites Horizons is a specialty manufacturer of high-temperature composites used in the gas turbine engine and nacelle industry. Over the past five years, the company has grown significantly with a current backlog in excess of $330 million and is planning for added expansion in new CMC products as well as its traditional carbon fiber polyimide and carbon fiber bismaleimide (BMI) parts for aero engines. Composites Horizons parts can be found on major military and commercial programs including the F-35, F-18, F-16, C-17, B787, B777, A-350, A-380 and Predator C. Composites Horizons parts will also be included on the A320neo, B737MAX, Global 7000/8000, and on Rolls-Royce’s new BR700NG business jet engine.