Spirit reports low-cost, high-rate process for composite wing boxes

Spirit AeroSystems says it has developed a low-cost, high-rate composites manufacturing process for primary wing box parts production using out-of-autoclave technology. Spirit also has joined the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield, U.K.

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Spirit AeroSystems Inc. (Wichita, Kan., USA) reported on July 10 that it has matured a low-cost, high-rate composites manufacturing process for primary wing box parts production. This work has been carried out by Spirit Shadow Works European division at its Composite Development Centre facilities in Prestwick, Scotland.

The innovative out-of-autoclave (OOA) fabrication process will produce high-tolerance composite integrated parts such as primary wing skins and spars with less energy input, lower capital investment and lower recurring part production costs.

Marcello Grassi, head of technology, Spirit AeroSystems Europe, says, "This is a crucial milestone in our quest to deliver to our OEM customers a composite production system capable of coping with next-generation aerostructures' high production rates with more balanced and sustainable technology."

Neil McManus, VP and managing director Spirit AeroSystems Europe says, "Working closely with the U.K. and Scottish governments, as well as the trade association ADS, we have developed a reliable R&D and Technology plan to allow us to get closer to our customer product strategy and its future requirements."

In other Spirit news, the company also announced its plans to increase its R&D footprint in Europe by joining the Catapult Technology Innovation Centres in High Value Manufacturing (HVM), a government supported initiative. Spirit also will be joining the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield, U.K., to strengthen its applied research activities in aerostructures design, manufacturing and assembly technologies. The state-­of-­the­art facilities and equipment combined with the specialist knowledge offered by the centers, gives Spirit an opportunity to enhance its technology portfolio within an interdisciplinary and cross­sector environment.

"We anticipate that product and technology innovation, as well as business synergies, will be further accelerated within the AMRC and MTC Catapult centers," says Grassi. "Both of the centers have an established track record on applied industrial research and acute business focus on return of investment."