Airbus is part of a team that received an industry award this month for the development of an innovative new production line process for composite parts that could be applied to the company's next generation of jetliners.
This award was presented by the JEC Group for a project headed by the Innovation Works activity of EADS - Airbus' parent company - which applied its unidirectional braiding technology to a new production line process for aircraft frames.
The automated pre-form production line developed by the award-winning team enables high-quality, low-cost composite aircraft frames to be manufactured with significant design flexibility and excellent repeatability. Use of the EADS-developed uniaxial braiding process improves the carbon fibres' compressive strength - providing significantly better mechanical properties and additional weight savings.
The system was developed in cooperation with SGL Kümpers in a two-year project, and has been installed at the Airbus Composite Technology Centre in Stade, Germany, where it is being evaluated for use in aircraft such as the A350 XWB and future Airbus jetliners.
In selecting the JEC Automation Category award winner, judges noted the EADS Innovation Works/SGL Kümpers/Airbus project was a "remarkable" demonstration of how material suppliers, machine manufacturers and end users can work closely together on more efficient, cost-effective processes that will enable composites production to compete with metallic structures.
The award was given at this month's JEC Composites show in Paris, France. For these annual honours, a jury of renowned international experts selects the best composites innovations in 10 categories based on their technical interest, market potential, partnership, financial impact and originality. The JEC Group is a French-based organisation that promotes advances in products and services for the worldwide composites industry.