UK-based precision plastics injection molding specialist Denroy Plastics Ltd. worked with Bombardier (Montréal, Quebec, Canada) and Victrex (Thornton Cleveleys, UK) on a new bracket technology.
The new bracket technology is suitable for use in hydraulic and fuel brackets for the wings, center box and fuel tanks of aircraft and can reportedly result in a weight reduction of at least 40% compared to metals. Made of an electrostatically dissipative VICTREX PEEK-ESD polymer, the bracket is specified in commercial aircraft such as Bombardier's C-Series, Global and Learjet aircraft.
To goal was to replace small to medium-sized machined aluminum and titanium brackets intended to last for the life of the aircraft even though many of these brackets are constantly immersed in fuel. Addition requirements were also weight and cost savings.
“Here at Denroy, we've invested in a manufacturing cell solely dedicated to the production of PEEK brackets. We have now developed optimized molding processes and invested in new equipment. Victrex's advice and support have been very valuable in the delivery of a durable bracket weighing at least 40% less than the metal design,” said Jim Knowles, sales & marketing manager at Denroy Plastics, who sees PEEK aerospace brackets as a growth area for Denroy going forward.
For Bombardier, the new bracket technology results in significant cost savings in fuel. In addition, cost savings during manufacturing can be achieved due to consolidated parts, integration of complex shapes and geometries, elimination of secondary processing (e.g., machining and painting), as well as by reducing both scrap material and production time.
“Victrex is committed to address specific challenges in aerospace such as weight reduction and simplified manufacturing by providing a range of PEEK grades that enable this, including the VICTREX PEEK-ESD polymer. The proven track record of Denroy in the automotive industry has enabled them to adapt their knowledge and experience to the design and production of aerospace components,” said Tim Herr, aerospace strategic business unit director at Victrex.
In the case of the Denroy brackets, to support design freedom – a critical feature if the brackets were to be optimized to their fullest extent – Victrex used proprietary fillers, which do not break down under shear, i.e. when passing through the restricted gate opening. This allows moldings to be produced under the optimum molding conditions without affecting the electrostatic discharge properties of the components.