Rockwood Composites to produce Eurofighter decoy launch systems components
The company’s bladder molding process offers cost and quality improvements for fighter plane parts previously made via filament winding.
Source | Rockwood Composites
Rockwood Composites (Devon, U.K.) announced on March 16 that it will supply parts for 130 decoy launch systems for Babcock International’s (London, U.K.) Eurofighter fighter aircraft program.
According to Rockwood, the parts, which had previously been manufactured using a filament winding process, will be made using Rockwood’s bladder molding technology. Through this process, the company says significant quality and cost advantages are gained while retaining the original parts’ strength, stiffness, physical size and electromagnetic performance.
In developing and testing the process for these parts, Rockwood says that it:
- Ensured that the materials used achieved the required structural parameters, which involved much testing to achieve the correct balance between the number of layers of composite used and the angle of the fibers within the different layers;
- Incrementally adjusted the tooling design according to the results of these tests to ensure that the correct strength, stiffness and size requirements were achieved;
- Managed the manufacturing process, which involved external bladder molding on a polished mandrel, to ensure that the structural requirements of the parts were met consistently.
Babcock placed its production order after receiving prototypes of the new parts.
“This was a technical challenge and Rockwood Composites met this challenge, delivering in terms of quality and cost. The parts are an integral part of our Eurofighter production programme which is progressing full steam ahead,” says Gam Mahil, Babcock buyer for defense systems technology, marine & technology.
“The Rockwood technical and development team has gained expert knowledge and experience in the field of composite materials and manufacturing processes over many years of designing, developing and manufacturing composite components for a wide range of highly specialized applications,” says Mark Crouchen, managing director of Rockwood Composites.
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