CompositesWorld News for Dec. 30, 2019

Read news from GKN Aerospace, Spirit AeroSystems, Janicki Industries, Teijin, AREVO, ACMA - American Composites Manufacturers Association, and Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI)
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Top composites news stories of 2019

The top 10 most viewed composites news stories of 2019.

The top news stories from 2019 spanned from next-generation aerocomposites, to thermoplastics, to 3D printing, to the latest developments in shipbuilding and offshore wind energy.

Here are 10 of CompositesWorld’s most viewed news stories from 2019.

Top 10 Composites News Stories of 2019:

  1. Spirit AeroSystems debuts next-generation composite fuselage panel. The 18-by-12-foot (5.5-by-3.7-meter) demonstrator panel debuted at the Paris Air Show in June 2019 features integrated skin and stringers and offers substantial cost savings combined with strong performance attributes.
  2. General Atomics Aeronautical developing tool-less thermoplastics composites process. Announced in January 2019, aerospace manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. is developing a novel process for the fabrication of thermoplastic composite structures that obviates the need for traditional molds or tooling.
  3. Airbus Albatross features flapping wings made from composites. In June 2019, Airbus demonstrated the first in-flight, flapping wing-tips, with potential to revolutionize aircraft wing and wing box design.

  4. Teijin to acquire Renegade, expand carbon fiber business in aerospace. Announced in February 2019, the acquisition aligns with Teijin’s goals to expand its carbon fiber intermediate materials business and expertise into next-generation aerospace.

  5. Janicki Industies opens aerospace composite manufacturing plant. Announced in September 2019, the 90,000-square-foot facility in Hamilton, Wash., U.S., will produce carbon fiber composite aerospace parts.

  6. Arevo introduces 3D-printed carbon fiber unibody bike frame and rim.Arevo’s 3D-printed carbon fiber unibody production bike frame and 3D-printed thermoplastic rim were displayed at Eurobike 2019 in September 2019.

  7. FIBRESHIP demonstrates ship hull section built in fiber-reinforced composite. The EU-funded project aims to replace steel in ships, reducing weight, fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

  8. Graphene consortium produces graphene-enhanced composite leading edge. Resin used to produce the leading edge showed increased mechanical and thermal properties upon graphene addition, including a decreased fracture speed.

  9. GKN Aerospace delivers RTM demonstrator tool for Wing of Tomorrow. The 4-meter mid-scale tool, delivered October 2019, enables large-scale use of resin transfer molding to manufacture a composite wing spar with reduced costs and weight.

  10. LM Wind Power manufactures longest wind turbine blade. The 107-meter-long blade was designed for GE’s Haliade-X 12-megawatt offshore wind turbine.

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Spirit AeroSystems suspends Boeing 787 MAX production

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, Spirit AeroSystems is suspending production of 737 MAX components pending Boeing’s resumed production timetable.

Boeing 737 MAX

Source | Boeing

Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan., U.S.) announced on Dec. 20, 2019, that it is suspending all production for 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The company says that Boeing has directed it to stop all 737 MAX deliveries to Boeing beginning Jan. 1 due to Boeing’s announced temporary suspension of 737 production, caused by longer-than-expected re-certification for the aircraft after two 737 MAX crashes caused the aircraft to be grounded in early 2019. Spirit says it will continue to communicate with Boeing regarding the timetable for resuming production.

Because revenue from 737 aircraft components represents more than 50% of Spirit's annual revenue, the company says that this suspension will have an adverse impact on its business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Additional financial information related to the suspension is expected to be provided in Spirit’s fourth quarter/full year 2019 earnings release.

Spirit says it is evaluating all potential actions to align its cost base with lower production levels expected in 2020. Decisions will be guided by a focus on what is best for the long-term interests of Spirit’s stockholders and other stakeholders, including employees.

Aerion Supersonic, Safran partner for AS2

Safran companies will design the engine nacelles, braking system and landing gear systems for the AS2 supersonic business jet.

AS2 supersonic business jet

Source | Aerion Supersonic

Supersonic aircraft technology developer Aerion Supersonic (Reno, Nev., U.S.) has selected technology group Safran (Paris, France) as a partner company for development of the AS2 supersonic business jet.

Two Safran companies have already joined the project to support the AS2: Safran Landing Systems (Canada and France) will design the complete braking and landing gear system, from main and nose landing gears, to wheels and brakes, including extension / retraction, monitoring and steering systems. Safran Nacelles (France) will design the AS2 nacelles, including the engines' inlets, fan cowl doors and thrust reverser.

First announced in 2014, the AS2 is reported to be the first privately built supersonic commercial aircraft. Designed to be inherently environmentally responsible, the AS2 is also said to be the first supersonic aircraft with the ability to accept 100% synthetic fuel and is the first to be designed without an afterburner. The 12-passenger business jet is scheduled to begin flight testing in 2024.

Safran is a well-known global group that has been designing, developing and manufacturing aircraft equipment for over a century,” says Tom Vice, Aerion CEO. “It is that wealth of experience, paired with Safran's eye toward the future and our shared commitment to sustainability, that makes us feel so confident about this relationship.”

“We are thrilled to be part of this extraordinary technological project which requests from our engineers to imagine beyond their usual environment and design breakthrough technologies for the future of aviation,” says Philippe Petitcolin, CEO of Safran.

Other AS2 supplier partnerships announced over the past year include Spirit AeroSystems in February and GKN Aerospace in December.

Sener Aeroespacial to develop assembly, testing equipment for JUICE satellite solar array wings

The Spanish aerospace systems supplier will provide equipment for transport, functional and vibration tests and final assembly of the large solar panels.

satellite support stand

Sener support stand from a previous space mission. Source | Sener Aeroespacial

Aerospace systems supplier Sener Aeroespacial (Madrid, Spain) announces that it will design and manufacture a set of mechanical ground support equipment for assembly and testing of solar array wings for the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) satellite, one of the largest missions of the European Space Agency (ESA).

JUICE is the first large mission of the ESA’s Space Vision 2015-2025 program, with the purpose of studying the atmosphere and magnetosphere of Jupiter and its moons Europe, Callisto and Ganymede. The satellite will be equipped with 97-square-meter solar panels, reportedly the largest used in a mission of this kind to date. 

Sener Aeroespacial will provide equipment for transport around the facility, functional and vibration tests and final assembly of the large solar panels. The company is responsible for the design and manufacturing of a support frame (mechanism for elevation, leveling, rotation and transport of solar panels with a vibration adapter) and supervision over the manufacturing of four types of devices designed by the client, Airbus Defense and Space (Leiden, Netherlands). (Airborne (The Hague, Netherlands) is developing the substrate panels for use in the solar arrays.)

This contract is in addition to Sener Aeroespacial’s role in designing, manufacturing, testing and installing a 10-meter magnetometer boom used to place scientific instruments away from the satellite to avoid magnetic interference. Moreover, Sener Aeroespacial executes the Medium-Gain Antenna (MGAMA) that will back up the satellite’s High-Gain Antenna in order to guarantee communication between JUICE and the Earth all times. The medium-gain antenna will be also used in mission’s science experiments. Sener Aeroespacial’s work comprises the antenna reflector, the pointing mechanism and the control electronics.

The JUICE mission is scheduled to begin in mid-2022.

ACMA announces 2020 Composites Recycling Conference

Abstract submissions will be accepted until Jan. 20, for the event taking place May 19-21 in Aurora, Colo., U.S.

American Composites Manufacturers Association logo

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA, Arlington, Va., U.S.) is accepting abstract submissions for its its second Composites Recycling Conference, which will take place May 19-21, 2020 in Aurora, Colo., U.S. ACMA says that the conference will highlight the most recent advances in composite recycling technology, as well as business developments that are turning composites recycling into a reality.

In addition, this year's conference will feature a progress report on Phase 2 of ACMA’s collaborative research project with IACMI – The Composites Institute (Knoxville, Tenn., U.S.). The project aims to improve the sustainability of both glass and carbon fiber composites through the development of cost-effective energy and fiber recovery processes.

The conference will feature a comprehensive conference program with sessions on recycling best practices, the state of composite recycling technology, and standards for composites recycling, as well as opportunities to see the latest recycled composite products.

ACMA is accepting submissions for presentations for the conference until January 10, 2020. Presentations can be based on case studies, best practices, trends and more, and requested topics include:

  • incentives for recycling and waste reduction (cost/benefits/regulation),
  • avoiding scrap — waste reduction techniques and processes,
  • recycling technology,
  • standards for recycled composite materials and
  • recycled composite products.

All submissions will be reviewed by industry representatives and the chosen speakers will be notified by mid-February. For more information, go to bit.ly/RecyclingConference2020

“Our industry has made great strides in composites recycling, including greater awareness, product development and industry collaboration,” says Tom Dobbins, president and CEO of ACMA. “This conference will allow professionals in our industry to discover the full picture of composites recycling – from innovative products made from recycled materials to the latest opportunities to reduce costs and develop recycled composite products — and explore how sustainability can impact the bottom line for manufacturers.”