GE Aviation to use Umeco OOA prepreg on A350 trailing edges

After an 18-month process development phase, GE Aviation has placed an order for the production of 18 shipsets of Umeco's MTM44-1 out-of-autoclave prepregs to manufacture the outer and mid-section fixed trailing edge panels for the Airbus A350 XWB wing.

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Umeco (Learnington Spa, U.K.) reported on March 16 that its MTM44-1 out-of-autoclave (OOA) prepregs are being used by GE Aviation (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA) to manufacture the outer and mid-section fixed trailing edge panels for the Airbus A350 XWB wing.

Following close collaboration over an 18-month process development phase to ensure a smooth introduction of this novel technology, GE Aviation placed an order for the production of the first 18 shipsets which will be used to manufacture honeycomb sandwich structures using OOA processing.

The first milestone for MTM44-1, Umeco’s toughened, structural, OOA prepreg resin system, was in 2008 when the first subscale wing box demonstrator was produced for the collaborative research program ALCAS (Advanced Low Cost Aircraft Structures). The successful use of MTM44-1 on the wing box demonstrator further validated the capability of this next-generation OOA material. This was achieved as part of an Airbus and Dassault Aviation-led program aimed at validating the designs and technologies for lower cost aircraft structures.

Airbus and Umeco underpinned the qualification of MTM44-1 by signing a framework contract that provided commercial and technical stability to Airbus subcontractors adopting this new technology.

Umeco’s MTM44-1 has been optimised for low-pressure vacuum bag processing to provide low internal void content, with the resulting composites performance being comparable to those of standard autoclave cured systems. This technology may also facilitate the manufacture of larger and more integrated structures that might otherwise be excluded by their size and the prohibitive significant investment required for autoclave processing.
 

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