New Briefs: HPC May 2010

Quickstep wins F-35 contract; Oxeon expands carbon fiber fabric capacity, Web Industries expands prepreg operations.

On March 18, Quickstep Holdings Ltd. (North Coogee, Australia) reported that it had signed a Manufacturing License Agreement (MLA) with Northrop Grumman (Los Angeles, Calif), a subcontractor to team lead Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, Md.), in regard to the design and manufacture of the center fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. Quickstep signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman in November 2009 to finalize a Long-Term Agreement that would cover contracts worth as much as $650 million (USD). The MLA provides Northrop Grumman with export approval from the U.S. State Department to begin transfer to Quickstep of technical data necessary for the manufacture of 21 different F-35 components. Contract work could continue for 20 to 30 years, generating annual revenues as high as $50 million by 2015.

Oxeon AB (Borås, Sweden) is adding new capacity in its Borås facility to produce ultralightweight spread-tow carbon fiber reinforcements. The company recently commissioned a new line and is placing orders for more lines, based on growth of customer demand for its spread-tow fabrics, trademarked TeXtreme, says Andreas Martsman, Oxeon’s VP of business development.  

Flexible materials specialist Web Industries (Marlborough, Mass.) has embarked on a multi-million dollar expansion of its Atlanta, Ga., operation, which produces carbon fiber prepreg tapes for automated manufacturing of aircraft components. The expansion will include 250,000 ft² (23,226m²) of manufacturing space, with equipment, infrastructure and a composites research and development center.