Rockford’s ‘electrification of composites’ unveiled at AIX

AMApr18News - rockford
AMApr18News - rockford

Rockford is partnering with Equip’Aero Technique to develop an innovative technology solution to electrify composites for use in aircraft interiors.

Rockford is showcasing this innovative, compact and robust cabling solution at the Aircraft Interiors Exhibition in Hamburg, April 10-12 at exhibition stand 2U60 (ADS UK Pavilion) with its French composite partner Equip’Aero Technique and its curved composite solutions.

Rockford and Equip’Aero Technique have been working together for the past year, developing the ultimate product that could combine two completely unique processes, one from each company. Rockford’s cable assembly expertise, mixed with Equip’Aero Technique’s composite technology, has been merged to create a new potential line of products in the form of electrified composites.

With each company also offering unique processing abilities within their core industry, the electrified composite solution created from the Rockford-Equip’Aero Technique partnership is said to be remarkable and will provide a competitive advantage in terms of strength, compact design, hidden cables, reduced envelope space and versatility.

Rockford is known for cable assembly, wire harnesses and electro-mechanical systems, but also owns a woven cable technology that is one-of-a-kind within the UK. This process develops a low-profile, incredibly strong and highly flexible complex cable assembly using a weave technology.

Rockford manager, Mike Molland, of the Salisbury facility where the weaving machine is operational, explained that there is only one other company in the UK that can weave cables and its machine is incapable of designing the range of weaves that Rockford can manufacture. The weave can be manufactured using a range of fabric materials such as, Kevlar, Nomex, PEEK, Nylon and Polyester, which allows its customers to use smaller and lighter wires as the tensile strength is provided by the weave material.

“Our weave is extremely flat, highly flexible and strong enough for very demanding applications, such as motorsport and defence.”

Equip’Aero Technique is a French-based composite solutions specialist and claims that it’s time for the traditional Nomex honeycomb sandwich panel to be disrupted. Technicians there have developed a new foam sandwich solution, which allows it to build complex curved shaped composites, and thus opens up a new realm of possibilities for composite applications.

Phil Curnock of Aescom explained that Equip’Aero Technique’s new foam sandwich method of composite building is the ultimate way to create an electrified composite solution.

“The traditional Nomex honeycomb sandwich panel gives you an unstable core and therefore limits the options for embedding things such as cables. The new foam sandwich method developed by Equip’Aero Technique will facilitate the electrification of composites.”

Together, the electrified composite solution using woven cable technology and curved foam sandwich composites has the potential to disrupt the composite industry with its lightweight, compact results and a wealth of potential applications. Rockford and Equip’Aero Technique are partnering to develop these applications, starting with projects within the aircraft interiors niche.

A demonstration of the electrification of composites is on display at the Aircraft Interiors Exhibition in Hamburg in the form of an electrified seat tray. Rockford’s sales and marketing director, Chris Parsonage, is thrilled to be showcasing such a unique centrepiece, and to bring together such a ground-breaking partnership.

“The composite seat tray is going to be the star of the show for us, and we are all very excited to be part of the team. The mutual support and quality of engineering work done has been fantastic.”




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