Get your FREE Inside Composite membership

Sign me up!

19th December 2017, Wichita, KS

Spirit develops new composites manufacturing technology

Spirit AeroSystems has announced that its Advanced Technology Centre in Prestwick, Scotland, has developed an improved method for manufacturing composite parts.

In collaboration with the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS), Spirit developed an intelligent heated tool for curing composite components. The new technology can cure composite parts 40% faster at half the cost and supports a wide range of composite components across industries, from wind turbine blades to the next generation of composite aircraft, according to the manufacturer.

Spirit AeroSystems designs and builds aerostructures for both commercial and defence customers. © Spirit AeroSystems

“Instead of curing components at a standard temperature for hours at a time, we can now tailor the cycle time to match individual part geometries,” explained Stevie Brown, lead engineer at Spirit's Advanced Technology Centre in Prestwick. “The autoclave has been a bottleneck in manufacturing lines, and removing it will reduce cycle times for components, cut production costs and decrease energy consumption.”

Typically, high-performance composite materials are layered on a specially formed surface, or tool, and then placed in an autoclave, where a combination of heat and pressure accelerate the hardening of the material. Spirit's new technology introduces an intelligent, multi-zone heated tool, removing the need for an autoclave. The tool enables complete control of the curing process through real-time monitoring and feedback.

CENSIS supported the collaboration with funding and provided project management expertise. The University of Strathclyde provided technical support and developed the control algorithm and software for the intelligent tool. The collaboration will continue through 2018, and Spirit has already begun applying the technology in research and manufacturing projects.

Spirit AeroSystems designs and builds aerostructures for both commercial and defence customers. With headquarters in Wichita, KS, Spirit operates sites in the US, UK, France and Malaysia. The company's core products include fuselages, pylons, nacelles and wing components for the world's premier aircraft.

This article is also appears in...


Be the first to comment on Spirit develops new composites manufacturing technology


Back to Top