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12/8/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

UTC Aerospace Systems contracts with AIC Group for large autoclave

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UTC Aerospace Systems will use the 5.5m diameter autoclave at its Prestwick, Scotland facility to maintain, repair and overhaul large nacelle systems for next-generation wide-bodied aircraft.


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AIC Group (Poole, Dorset, UK) reports that it has been awarded a multi-million pound contract by UTC Aerospace Systems (Prestwick, Scotland, UK) to custom-build a 5.5m diameter autoclave with state-of-the-art control systems.

The autoclave, says AIC, is the first of its size in the UK and will enable UTC Aerospace Systems’ Prestwick facility to maintain, repair and overhaul larger nacelle systems fitted to the next generation of wide-bodied aircraft. 

The autoclave will be operational by the end of 2015 and will run on AIC’s Autoclave Management and Control System (AMCS), which provides production efficiencies and energy savings, as well as aerospace compliant QA reports. The autoclave will be maintained by AIC in a 10-year program that includes 24/7 technical support.

The autoclave will be delivered to the site in sections after being hydrotested and joined using a "golden weld," which is 100% radiographic tested. AIC says its water cooling system will deliver cooling with minimal environmental impact, significantly reducing chemical use, realizing lower running cost, energy savings and waste disposal savings.

The autoclave features AIC’s balanced vacuum system controlled by AMCS to deliver accurate vacuum  levels, and is constructed of stainless steel lines, seamlessly welded using high-accuracy welding and helium leak detection equipment. A hot bonder is also integrated for spot repairs.

Steve Callan, managing director of UTC Aerospace Systems – Aerostructures Prestwick Service Centre, says, “We are committed to maintaining the high-quality capabilities and services our customers expect. This new autoclave better positions us to be a leader in the new large-engine nacelle products that have begun entering the market. It further demonstrates our dedication to meeting our customers’ requirements and supporting them into the future.”

Nigel Clifford, AIC’s head of sales, says, “The contract is the result of many months of collaborative working between AIC and UTC Aerospace Systems. We listened carefully to what UTC required and they took the time to understand the benefits of key features of the autoclave, its controls and sub-systems. We jointly investigated different configurations, potential cost savings and delivery logistics. Ultimately, we arrived at a carefully specified, high-quality solution that will deliver exceptional performance, increased reliability, energy savings and lower environmental impact. It’s been a pleasure to work with the team at Prestwick."