Hexcel Corp. (Stamford, Conn.) and Web Industries Inc. (Marlborough, Mass.), a specialist in slit prepreg tapes, signed a long-term supply agreement in late March under which Web Industries will convert Hexcel’s trademarked HexPly carbon fiber prepreg into slit tapes. Under the agreement, Web will install and operate a dedicated slitting operation, using its proprietary and trademarked PrecisionSlit carbon fiber slit tape technology and processes, within Hexcel’s newly expanded prepreg manufacturing facility in Stade, Germany.
Destined for automated fiber placement (AFP) manufacturing lines operated by aerospace programs, including those for the Airbus A350 XWB, the slit tapes will require strict operational and environmental conditions. Therefore, colocating the slit tape operation within Hexcel’s Stade plant is expected to optimize environmental control and quality assurance, say the companies. Facility construction should be complete by May 2012 and should ramp up to commercial scale by December.
Hexcel entered into the agreement to facilitate and simplify its supply chain across the Atlantic. “This agreement represents a significant partnership for our two companies,” says Hexcel’s president, Nick Stanage. “And the combination of Hexcel’s advanced carbon fiber materials and Web’s precision composites converting will provide a unique service to our customers in Europe, Russia and the Middle East who will benefit from significantly reduced freight costs, less inventory and shorter lead times.”
Donald Romine, president and CEO of Web Industries, adds, “The Stade operation will utilize some of the most advanced processes for creating state-of-the-art prepreg slit tape.”
Web Industries performs a full range of precision converting services, including slitting, spooling, winding, coating, laminating, and printing, and value-added services, such as automated assembly and packaging.