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22nd March 2018, Marseilles

Sicomin’s advanced epoxies in Sling aircraft

Sicomin, a formulator and supplier of advanced epoxy systems, and its South African composite materials distributor Aerontec have been working closely with The Airplane Factory (TAF) to develop enhanced and efficient production methods for the flagship range of Sling aircrafts.

The Sling is a competitively priced, high performance, lightweight aluminium and composite aircraft, which can be purchased as a fully constructed and test flown aircraft or as a home build kit. Previously, the composite undercarriage was wet laminated and then cut to shape. However, the very thick glass epoxy laminate was difficult to laminate and trim so TAF began seeking a more efficient and less labour-intensive alternative.

The Sling is a competitively priced, high performance, lightweight aluminium and composite aircraft. © Sicomin

With Aerontec’s guidance, the original wet lamination process was replaced through the development of a new net-shape, two-part infusion mould. This allowed the undercarriage of the Sling 2 and Sling 4 aircraft to be infused using Sicomin’s advanced epoxy systems SR8100. This low viscosity product is said to easily wet out thick glass laminates, making for a consistent and reliable process.

SR8100 is designed specifically for infusion and RTM techniques and has secured Lloyd’s Register and Germanischer Lloyd approvals. It is currently utilised by Sicomin’s industrial, marine, energy, transportation, sports and leisure customers. SR8100 is a two-component system, compatible with a variety of hardeners allowing for the construction of small to large parts with a rapid remoulding time.

Sicomin’s SR1126 fire retardant epoxy is used to manufacture the composite components of the certified version of the Sling 2 aircraft, namely the Sonaca S200. The canopy front arch, air vents, cowlings and the cockpit interior are all laminated with the aerospace, FST approved system. The Sling 2 parts are laminated in glass fibre moulds and post-cured at an elevated temperature following demoulding.

The FAR 25.853 certification was a crucial selection factor for TAF to ensure enhanced safety of the occupants in the event of a fire. These rigorous quality standards are also required for this aircraft to operate in Europe.

“Sicomin and Aerontec look forward to supporting the ever-increasing number of composite components that The Airplane Factory produces as they expand their range of aircraft,” the company said.

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