EADS Augsburg facility passes 787 test

The EADS aerostructures facility in Augsburg, Germany, reports that Boeing 787 aft pressure bulkhead it makes has passed 165,000 fatigue test cycles without failure or objection.

The EADS facility in Augsburg, Germany, “Aerostructures made in Augsburg,” reported on Feb. 4 that it has successfully passed 165,000 fatigue test cycles for the The Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner aft pressure bulkhead without failure. Since April 2007, the Augsburg aerostructures plant has been running the certification test for its latest product using its patented vacuum assisted process (VAP) technology.

One of the core skills of the facility in the production of high-tech components is the VAP process for the manufacture of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components. An advantage of this new technology is that expensive autoclaves can be dispensed with; a temperature controlled oven is sufficient for curing the resin. Apart from the economic advantages, this patented technique also has the benefit of allowing shorter component production times compared to conventional processes. The aft pressure bulkhead separates the passenger cabin from the lower pressure outside the aircraft and closes the end of the cabin inside the tail section of the fuselage.

The Augsburg aerostructures plant is also performing the assembly and has already delivered 21 series production units to its customer Vought Aircraft Industries Inc. Vought is assembling the pressure bulkhead to the 787 aft fuselage sections at its facilities in Charleston, S.C., and delivering them through Global Aeronautica to the Boeing 787 final assembly line in Everett, Wash.

The certification test for the aft pressure bulkhead includes static, fatigue, damage tolerance and failure testing. Both static tests – ultimate and limit load with positive and negative pressure – were successfully completed under surveillance of the authorities at the test facility near Munich, Germany. During 165,000 fatigue test cycles the pressure loads of starts and landings have been simulated. The result: no failures and objections during all the test cycles. The certification test will be finished in February 2008 – according to schedule for the aircraft certification of the 787.

Another product, made using VAP technology, is the cargo door for the new A400M military transport aircraft. Measuring approximately 7m by 4m, it is the world’s largest aircraft component to be manufactured using this innovative technology. See story here.