04 April 2011
Advanced composite production techniques developed with the involvement of EADS Innovation Works and multiple EADS divisions were highlighted at last week’s JEC Composites show in Paris – which is one of the world’s largest industry gatherings in this sector. Exhibits included three examples of structures/components developed with the EADS-patented Vacuum Assisted Process (VAP), as well as a composite nose landing gear bay demonstrator that underscored European industry expertise in the infusion of large complex parts.
This 3-metre-long fuselage barrel was created using VAP technology and produced in a “one-shot” single production step, complete with its integrated stringers, local reinforcements and window frames. Developed in the NEXICOS (Next Generation of Integrated Composite Aerospace Structure) project, it demonstrates the merits of such an integrated approach with future aircraft and helicopter airframes when applying the VAP technology. The effort involved EADS Innovation Works, Airbus, Eurocopter and Premium AEROTECH – a wholly-owned subsidiary of EADS.
VAP was developed by EADS’ Cassidian division and EADS Innovation Works, and is now being used by an increasing number of licensees – with many of them represented on a grouped exhibit at the JEC Composites show. Their display featured a bobsled produced by Germany’s Singer Carbontechnik with VAP, which is expected to be used in championship competitions and could be a contender in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. VAP enables the manufacture of composite structures to be optimised for specific requirements – such as high strength and the ability to withstand torsional loads.
This side-stay fitting for an airliner’s main landing gear was made with ultra-thick laminates by EADS Innovation Works in close cooperation with Airbus UK. It was developed in the framework of a European Union project to demonstrate the development and manufacturing of such components in an open-mould technique using VAP technology. An innovative integrated tooling method was used, enabling low-cost and extremely flexible open-mould manufacturing.
The ability to design and produce a composite nose landing gear for Airbus applications was validated with this large component exhibited at JEC Composites. It used automated and measurement-assisted assembly techniques while applying processes with high-throughput capability and expertise in the infusion of large complex parts. This European project – called NOFUDEM (Nose Fuselage Demonstrator) – was led by DAHER-SOCATA and involved a team that included EADS Innovation Works and Airbus.
- For additional information from the JEC Composites show, see the related story concerning VAP technology and the EADS Technology Licensing initiative