Hexcel, Arkema forge thermoplastic composites alliance

Originally titled 'Hexcel, Arkema forge thermoplastic composites alliance'

Carbon fiber source Hexcel and thermoplastics supplier Arkema partnered in March to provide thermoplastic composite solutions targeted to commercial aircraft OEMs for next-gen aircraft.

On March 26, 2018, prinicipals at Hexcel (Stamford, CT, US) and Arkema (King of Prussia, PA, US) announced that they have signed a strategic alliance to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector that will combine the expertise of Hexcel in carbon fiber manufacture  and that of Arkema in polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) resins.

The partnership aims to develop carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic tapes to produce lightweight parts for future generations of aircraft. In addition to lightweighting, these new composites will provide lower cost and faster production speeds for customers in the aerospace and the space and defense sectors. As part of this partnership, a joint research and development laboratory will be established in France.

The announcement echoes the recent announcement of Toray Industries Inc.’s (Tokyo, Japan) agreement to purchase TenCate Advanced Composites Holding BV (Morgan Hill, CA, US and Nijverdal, The Netherlands) for its thermoplastics capabilities.

“I am delighted to announce this partnership with Hexcel, a leading advanced composites supplier to the aerospace industry. This association fits in clearly with our strategy to develop advanced thermoplastic composite solutions from our PEKK resins and takes effect a few months before the commissioning of our new PEKK plant in the United States in Mobile, AL, scheduled for the end of 2018,” stated Thierry Le Hénaff, Arkema chairman and CEO.

Nick Stanage, Hexcel chairman and CEO, said, “We’re excited to join this collaboration with Arkema to continue exploring and defining the future of carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastics in the aerospace industry. With this opportunity and our recent acquisition of the aerospace and defense business of Oxford Performance Materials [Enfield, CT, US], Hexcel is quickly becoming an industry leader in advanced composite thermoplastic technologies.”