Hexcel (Stamford, Conn.) officially opened an extension to its prepreg plant in Parla, Spain, on Sept. 21, doubling capacity at the facility to support increasing build rates for the Airbus A350 XWB and legacy programs. The Parla plant manufactures trademarked HexPly prepreg tape using Hexcel’s HexTow carbon fiber. More than 50 percent of the Airbus A350 XWB primary structure is made from Hexcel’s M21E/IMA prepreg composites, including the wing and tail cone sections that are manufactured at the nearby Airbus (Toulouse, France) Spain plant and by Airbus subcontractors elsewhere in Europe.
Prepregs have been manufactured at the Parla plant for the past 23 years. The first Parla prepregs were delivered to Airbus in 1989. Hexcel opened the first carbon fiber plant in Spain, at Illescas, Toledo, in May 2008. The new prepreg plant at Parla will convert this carbon fiber into the prepreg tape that is used for automated processing of composites.
The new building was officially opened at a ceremony where speeches were made by Hexcel president and COO Nick Stanage; Rafael Gonzalez-Ripoll, director general of Airbus Operations; Don Jose Maria Fraile, mayor of Parla; and Don Percival Manglano, Madrid regional minister for the economy. Commenting at the ceremony, Stanage said, “This expansion at Hexcel Parla is a continuation of our strategy of supporting our key customers by adding capacity so that we may provide timely state-of-the-art prepreg materials right to their points of use. We are very pleased to support the growth of our longtime partner Airbus and we wish to thank our customers, the local community and all those who have supported us in expanding our world-class prepreg facility here in Spain.”