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17th May 2019, Alpharetta, GA

Solvay’s solutions for composite industrialisation at SAMPE

On display at SAMPE will be two examples of composite structures using Solvay’s thermoplastic materials for aerospace. © SolvaySolvay, a leading provider of technologically advanced lightweighting material solutions, is looking forward to engaging with SAMPE visitors on its industrialisation strategy. The company will take part in the show that takes place from 20-23 May 2019 in Charlotte, NC.

Produced by the North America Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), this event brings together leading companies, engineers, scientists, and professionals from throughout the advanced materials and processes industry.

Cost-efficient materials

Solvay will promote its cost-efficient thermoset and thermoplastic materials developed for high-rate, composite manufacturing. On display will be two examples of composite structures using Solvay’s thermoplastic materials for aerospace, with a welded fuselage demonstrator from GKN Fokker and a structural fitting from Greene Tweed.

The company will also display press cured thermoset aerospace structural components. Two papers will be presented on the manufacture of these parts at the event. The Spring Frame Press Fabrication of Aerospace Production Components paper has won the third Place in the Outstanding Technical Paper Awards for SAMPE 2019. The other paper is entitled Novel Prepreg System for Press Moulding.

Novel prepreg system for press moulding

The aerospace composite baseline material has been prepreg because of its considerable advantages for the production of large structure. As the structure decreases in size, other processes such as resin transfer moulding and thermoplastic compression moulding become viable. The development of XEP-2750 was inspired by these processes with an effort to keep the processing efficiencies gained by press consolidation processes with the practical advantages with handling prepreg material systems.

The use of prepreg alleviates some of the complex process dynamics in the filling phase of resin infusion processes and offers a wider process window for quality part fabrication.” The new formulation meets the performance targets set by Boeing for an aerospace capable resin system with the scale up and production facilities at Solvay,” the company reports. “The new class of prepregs offer opportunities to meet rate targets in aerospace while maintaining performance targets.”

Spring frame press fabrication of aerospace production components

Spring frame forming operations offer a number of advantages including tailor-able charge tensioning for ply drop locating, low cost stamp forming tooling concepts, rapid charge loading approaches, and rate enabling automated approaches to forming. Press forming thermoset composite components enables high-rate manufacturing of small to medium sized parts.

A set of demonstrators were manufactured with complex ply drops and pad ups in a matched mould process using CYCOM 5320-1 prepreg, CYCOM 970 prepreg, and a Solvay developmental resin, XEP-2750. The parts were manufactured in a simulated production environment on production equipment with trained production personnel. The part families incorporate features representative of primary and secondary aerospace structural composites with a number of processing characteristics including up to approximately 76 cm by 76 cm in-plane dimensions, a targeted 30-minute tool time, and the ability to accurately locate features like ply drops and pad-ups.

“These developments will lead to process specifications and controls for required, hot debulk cycles, preheat cycles, press consolidation and post cure as steps towards process implementation,” the company reports.

Rate and cost

Another focus will be industrialisation concepts for fabrication processes to demonstrate rate and cost capabilities. Visitors are invited to watch the company’s sub 5 min takt time Double Diaphragm Forming process at its booth and see the process’ capability on an automotive inner door structure.

Also discussed will be investing in step change manufacturing capabilities for high-quality, reliable supply to our customers. “Talk to our team to find out more about our new automated and digitalised operations,” the company reports.

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