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Industry News
News Briefs: HPC, September 2010

Automated Dynamics delivers machinery to GKN; CGTech forms Brazilian subsidiary; Lockheed Martin formally begins F-35 wing production; HITCO announces Boeing contract

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Posted on: 9/1/2010
High-Performance Composites

Automated Dynamics (Schenectady, N.Y.) has delivered a new piece of high-performance composite processing equipment to GKN Aerospace (Isle of Wight, U.K.). The July 29 announcement notes that the machine was installed in GKN’s new preproduction facility, which will support the Environmental Lightweight Fan (ELF) research program. The program’s goal is to develop an all-composite jet engine fan blade that will improve aircraft performance and reduce emissions. Automated Dynamics’ equipment reportedly will help GKN effectively manufacture the complex, often-curved jet engine structures.

CGTech (Irvine, Calif.), the developer of VERICUT CNC verification and simulation software, has formed a subsidiary in Brazil. Headquartered in São Paulo, CGTech-Brasil is responsible for marketing, sales, technical support and reseller support throughout South America. “There is a growing demand for simulation of complex machine tools,” says company president Jon Prun. “CGTech is well positioned to provide manufacturers with the skills and technologies they need to be successful.” In conjunction with the office opening, CGTech has launched a Web site in Portuguese: vericut.com.br

At a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 28, officials at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga., facility formally announced the start of the plant’s F-35 Lightning II center wing production. Center wing assembly for the multirole fifth-generation aircraft began July 30 in a 320,000-ft² (29,730m²) space in the Marietta site’s B-1 aircraft building. The assembly activity could employ more than 600 workers by 2016 as the program ramps up to full-rate production of one aircraft per workday. The program’s center wing assembly operation was established in Marietta to alleviate capacity constraints at the F-35’s final assembly site in Fort Worth, Texas, and to take advantage of available manufacturing capacity and existing fifth-generation aircraft production expertise in Marietta, says the company.

HITCO Carbon Composites (Gardena, Calif.), a subsidiary of SGL Group (Weisbaden, Germany), announced on July 19 a contract from Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T), the R&D arm of The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash.). BR&T is developing technology and processes for out-of-autoclave manufacturing of composite structures for next-generation aircraft. Specifically, HITCO will fabricate three large composite spars using prepreg supplied by Cytec Engineered Materials (Tempe, Ariz.). Processing will involve hot drape forming and a combination of automated tape laying and hand layup. The effort is part of the U.S. Air Force-directed Non-Autoclave (Prepreg) Manufacturing Technology Program, cofunded by Boeing and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. HITCO expects to complete this phase of the manufacturing technology program by the end of this year.

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