CAMX 2019 exhibit preview: Ensinger Composites
Appears in Print as: 'High-performance thermoplastics'
Ensinger (Bensalem, Pa., U.S.) offers engineering capabilities for high-performance thermoplastics and thermoplastic composites, ranging from compound development to part and process design.
The company is highlighting a project it completed in collaboration with aircraft interior and automotive equipment specialist Bucher Leichtbau AG. Bucher needed to develop non-conductive connector mountings for electrical plug-in connections for commercial aviation. The company wanted to eliminate the complexity of extra fastening components and high costs of planning, installation, maintenance and testing that previously arose from trying to position a metal mounting to a non-conductive structure. Because of the operating temperature and fire safety requirements, a low-cost, standard plastic was not an option, and the material used needed to be rigid, high-strength and require only minimum tooling costs.
For this project, Ensinger’s Otelfingen, Switzerland division developed a thermoplastic fiber-reinforced composite solution. The chosen material was an aircraft-approved polyetherimide (PEI) with glass fiber reinforcement. At the Otelfingen site, Ensinger produced the semi-finished parts in an angular shape from the PEI prepregs, created using individual prepreg layers pressed in a tool into the defined form. Ensinger then used CNC machining to finish the individual parts.
Lightweight, hard and stable at high temperatures, CMCs are emerging from two decades of study and development into commercial applications.
Capable of volume production, thermoplastic composites will gain new market share in the aerospace industry.
Applications aren't as demanding as airframe composites, but requirements are still exacting — passenger safety is key.