The company has now designed and built its first-ever thermoplastic composite rib, which will be used in the test wing box built as part of the Composite Aircraft of the Future platform led by the French Civil Aviation Research Council (CORAC) initiative in 2018.
Using thermoplastic composite to boost productivity and cut costs
DAHER has filed several patents and has the design and tech capabilities needed to build thermoplastic composite ribs, allowing it to manufacture increasingly complex parts and offer different materials and ranges that can reduce production costs. DAHER’s thermoplastic composite solutions give aircraft manufacturers alternatives to—and ways to complement—the use of metal and thermoset parts. Parts made from thermoplastic composite materials are more resilient and provide recycling potential not possible with other materials.
Curing thermoplastic matrices requires the application of heat and pressure in very short cycles, which ties in with faster production times in the aerospace industry.
The curing process is also reversible, meaning thermoplastic parts can be shaped for one purpose then reheated and reshaped for another. That unlocks possibilities in terms of welding and repairs, significantly reducing the number of fixings. All of these factors will make aircraft lighter and reduce fuel consumption. These weight and cost savings will allow aircraft manufacturers to improve aircraft performance and boost profitability.
“We offer trailblazing technological expertise such as the ability to make structures out of thermoplastic composites, which symbolizes DAHER’s R&T prowess. With this new thermoplastic composite rib, we have shown we can make parts that are 35% lighter than their metal equivalents for the same cost. Our goal is to develop alternative ranges that will allow us to make even lighter structures more cost effectively to meet the needs of aircraft manufacturers in terms of profitability and productivity,” explains Dominique Bailly, R&T Director.
The innovation will be showcased at the Paris International Airshow.