Spirit AeroSystems develops & leverages innovative composite technology

Spirit AeroSystem announces it has leveraged advanced composite technology from its Research and Development portfolio to introduce new work at the company's UK facility. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Spirit's site in Prestwick, Ayrshire, to share details of the new single-aisle spoiler work on the Airbus A320 family programs.

Scott McLarty, vice president and general manager of Spirit’s U.K. and Malaysia facilities said:

“We are pleased to utilize this innovative technology to not only bring improved quality and savings to our customer but also to secure new work for our U.K. facility. This is an opportunity for us to leverage our technology, design, engineering and manufacturing expertise to better support the needs of our customers, and it strengthens our ability to secure future work.”

The Spirit-developed Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) solution supports the high-volume production of spoilers and other monolithic components and promises to deliver improved quality and significant cost savings. Spirit will establish a world-class manufacturing platform involving state-of-the-art automation and robotics to meet its customer’s rate demands, which are currently at over 600 spoilers per month. The Scottish Government is providing investment support to secure the project, which will result in an increase in headcount at the facility.

The RTM design solution utilizes an innovative fabrication process, enabled by material selection, that is custom designed to meet the increasingly complex geometries required for advanced composite structures. The process increases design certainty and structural integrity throughout the completed component. This, in combination with a fully defined manufacturing process and industrialization strategy, presents an alternative solution to the current composite sandwich structure. Spirit and Airbus have been collaborating on the research and development of the new technology since 2014. The Aerospace Technology Institute, a UK government aerospace research and development institute, also provided a funding match to the effort.

The RTM solution offers non-crimp fabric skins and stiffeners while maintaining existing product interfaces. It allows for greater process control, reduced cycle time and lower energy consumption. Spirit will also utilize Spirit Exact, a suite of technologies that allow parts to become tools, for assembly of the RTM “closed cell” composite box. Spirit has completed RTM technology demonstrations at its Advanced Technology Centre in Prestwick and is scheduled to begin production of the single-aisle spoilers with the new process in 2019.

Spirit AeroSystems is one of the largest manufacturers of aerostructures in the world with design and build capabilities for both commercial and defense customers. In addition to spoilers, the company currently produces the A320 family leading and trailing edge.

Companies: Spirit AeroSystems

Industries: Aerospace

Technologies: RTM

Terms: Business

This article has been edited by Basalt.Today
This article has been written on JEC Composites Magazine
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