Safran inaugurates new aerocomposites center in France

Safran's 10,000-sq-m composite materials research center near Paris will be staffed by 150 specialists and will focus on developing materials and technologies for the company's aircraft engine applications.

Related Topics:

Jean­Paul Herteman, chairman and CEO of Safran (Paris, France), inaugurated on May 13 the new Safran composite materials research center at the Le Bouchet site in Itteville (Essone, greater Paris area).

Safran is investing some €50 million in the new facility, which spans 10,000m2/107,639 ft2. It will ultimately be staffed by 150 recognized specialists in composite materials, including technicians, engineers and doctoral scientists, who will deploy state­-of-­the-­art machinery and equipment for all phases in the development cycle, from research to prototyping.

Organic matrix composites are becoming more strategic than ever for Safran with the development of the new LEAP engine, successor to the best­selling CFM56. Featuring fan blades and cases made using a 3-D woven composite process, LEAP engines will power new­ generation single-­aisle commercial jets from Airbus and Boeing starting in 2016.

This dedicated new research center will enable Safran to continue to extend the scope of application and performance of composite materials. Combining light weight with high strength and temperature resistance, Safran says advanced composites will help meet the pressing challenge of producing aircraft with reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The new Safran Composites research & technology center will play a triple role in addressing these goals by: 

  • Continuing work already under way on innovative composite technologies, such as 3-D weaving
  • ­Exploring new research paths, including higher temperature-­resistant resins, within the scope of research partnerships bringing together academia, research labs, specialized small businesses, etc.
  • ­Facilitating the circulation of these technologies across all Safran companies.

"Safran Composites is the tangible result of an industrial strategy anchored in technological innovation, and reflects our strong position within the French business and science communities. By integrating our skills and expertise, we will bolster our technological and competitive leadership in the global marketplace," Herteman said.

The site at Le Bouchet is already home to facilities for two Safran Group companies: Herakles, which operates an energetic materials research center, and Structil, the Herakles subsidiary specialized in composite materials. The installation of Safran Composites will expand the capabilities of the Le Bouchet site by fostering cross­disciplinary exchanges and synergies with the engineers and technicians already working in the existing facilities.