Bombardier subsidiary upgrades composite tape layer

Short Brothers plc is upgrading its MAG CHARGER composite taper layer, which is used to to produce horizontal stabilizer skins for the Global Express business jet.

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Short Brothers plc (Belfast, Northern Ireland), a wholly owned subsidiary of Bombardier Inc. (Montréal, Québec, Canada), known as the first aircraft manufacturer in the world, reports that it has ordered an upgrade of its MAG-built CHARGER composite tape laying system, encompassing control hardware, software and mechanicals. MAG (Hebron, Ky., USA) began installation of the new technology at the company's Belfast plant in late July, taking the control system from Version 1 to Version 2, and updating mechanical components to reduce changeover time by 50 percent or more when switching between 6-inch/152-mm and 12-inch/304-mm tape widths. The machine is currently being used to produce horizontal stabilizer skins for the Global Express business jet.

"In a field that evolves as rapidly as composites production, an upgrade path for older machinery becomes as important as new-machine technology content," said Randy Kappesser, MAG vice president and general manager for composites. "We continuously invest a significant percentage of our sales to research, develop and maintain upgrade paths for all of our composites machinery dating back to the first units built in 1983. This allows us to bring systems such as this eight-year-old machine forward to today's capabilities, or even re-purpose the machine with a new gantry and longer rail lengths. This upgrade will enhance the machine's capabilities as a tape layer, and has the potential to cut cycle times 10 to 15 percent."

MAG's CHARGER composite tape layer is used to produce components for the Airbus A380 and Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.