Hexcel’s carbon fibre developments at Paris Airshow 2017

At this year's Paris Airshow, Hexcel (stand F80, hall 2B, chalet B111) will promote a range of carbon fibres and composite materials that are used to manufacture high performance weight-saving structures in civil aircraft, engines, helicopters, and space applications.

Hexcel is a recognised innovator in carbon fibre development, providing a full range of High Strength and Intermediate Modulus fibres for the aerospace industry. In an ongoing drive to develop materials that offer a wide range of design and cost/value propositions for the composite structures for the future Hexcel has launched two new products that will be promoted at the show.

HexTow IM5 is a new carbon fibre from Hexcel that offers a unique strength/modulus combination for primary structure optimization, positioned between High Strength (standard modulus) carbon fibre and high performance Intermediate Modulus fibre.

HexTow HM63 is another breakthrough carbon fibre from Hexcel that has the highest tensile strength of any high modulus fibre and provides outstanding translation of fibre properties in a composite, including superior interlaminar shear and compression shear strength. Visitors to Hexcel’s stand will see a high temperature fan-compressor shaft assembly made by Lentus Composites from Hexcel’s HexTow HM63 carbon fibre and HexPly M65 BMI prepreg. This toughened BMI product provides excellent performance at elevated temperatures in civil aircraft, helicopters, military jets and aircraft engines.

Later in 2017 Hexcel will begin producing engineered core products at its new plant in Casablanca, Morocco, an investment that will complement existing engineered core facilities in the US and Belgium. Engineered core is flat HexWeb honeycomb that Hexcel forms, shapes, machines and/or bonds to create high quality core details and assemblies to precise customer specifications. At the Paris show Hexcel will display a main landing gear door (MLG) by Daher for Gulfstream that demonstrates Hexcel’s expertise in splicing, forming and numerically controlled machining of honeycomb.

Hexcel has more than 25 years of experience in developing out-of-autoclave (OOA) technologies for aerospace. Among them, vacuum infusion is now recognized as a key technology for future aerospace programs, helping to meet the cost targets and production rate challenges for large structures. To meet the required performance for aerospace primary structures, Hexcel developed HiTape carbon fibre reinforcements for the automated lay-up of dry preforms for resin infusion.

Hexcel will display a C295 outer wing box demonstrator panel manufactured with HiTape reinforcement by Airbus Defence and Space as part of the APOLO-Cleansky2 project. The HiTape preforms for the skin, stringer and spars were laid-up by robot in an automated process and

then co-infused with Hexcel HexFlow epoxy resin RTM6 in a cost-efficient out-of-autoclave process. This part demonstrates that HiTape technology is an efficient composite solution for primary aircraft structures and a viable option to meet production rates and cost requirements for new aerospace programmes.

Hexcel’s HexMC moulding composite is a carbon fibre/epoxy material designed for the manufacture of high performance parts by compression moulding. At the Airshow, Hexcel will display a single aisle wing access panel demonstrator manufactured from HexMC in a one-step process. HexMC technology enables the rapid manufacture of production parts with a fast cure cycle and net shape moulding. The material accommodates thickness changes and allows stiffeners to be integrated into the moulding process, avoiding a secondary operation.

Hexcel will also showcase a demonstrator part resulting from a partnership with Tecalemit Aerospace Group. The demonstrator is a hybrid composite structure and was made by applying “Forged Carbon Technology” to HexForce AS4/8552 carbon fibre fabric and HexMC AS4/8552 high performance sheet moulding material. The part was co-moulded with metal inserts in a one-step process using a net shape preform. It was made in industrialized processing conditions, demonstrating the technology readiness for high volume production of complex carbon shapes.

Later this year Hexcel will start up production at its new carbon fibre plant in Roussillon, France. This $250 million investment in polymerization and carbonization lines occupies a 37-acre site at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform and is part of Hexcel’s ongoing investment to create a diversified and robust supply chain to support aerospace customers' growing demand for carbon fibre composites worldwide. The plant is expected to be fully operational in early 2018 and will employ around 120 people.





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