Expert in design, production and integration of complex composite and hybrid aerostructures, Airbus Atlantic is preparing the future.

In the coming decade, we want to set up the future production tool for the next generation of aircraft, one of the big decision factors being the capacity to produce at strong rates

Pierre Magnin, head of the Engineering Research and Technology department at Airbus Atlantic.

“We are thus led to establish comparisons among all the technological solutions at our disposal. And at this stage no technology can be dismissed. For a metallic aircraft,  there still is room for progress thanks to new manufacturing technologies and this solution offers benefits in terms of cost and recyclability. We also have the composite thermosetting technology, widely implemented on the A350, which is constantly improving, the ultimate challenge being components made of thermoplastic materials. Depending on the maturity of one technology or another, we could very well have mixed solutions, using both thermoplastic and thermoset parts".  

In our composites facilities in Méaulte, Nantes and Salaunes (France), we manufacture a wide range of thermoset and thermoplastic aircraft fuselage parts and aerospace equipment, using cutting-edge composite technologies: 

  • Equipped aircraft sections and work-packages (nose fuselage section and centre wing box for the A350, aft fuselage panels for the A220, equipped wings for ATR);
  • Large complex parts for all type of aircraft (radomes, air inlets, wing flaps, keel beams, seat shells…) as well as elementary parts (stringers, struts…);
  • Cockpit furnishing (for A320, A400M);
  • Cabin furnishing: window panels, bins, lavatories, ceiling, partitions… (ATR 42 / 72)
  • Premium passenger seat shells (for all types of aircraft).

We use various technologies such as Automated Fibre Placement (AFP), Automated Tape Laying (ATL), Infusion / Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM), compression moulding, filament winding, hand lay-up, Out of Autoclave process (OoA), robotized fibre placement, dry fibre.

In our three research centres (Airbus Atlantic Technocentre in Nantes, Atlantic Lab in Méaulte and Stelia Composites Expertise Centre in Salaunes), our engineers develop large, one-part, fastener free, 3D primary structures, manufactured by infusion or by non-autoclave welding and thermoplastic technologies. We also investigate innovative assembly processes based on advanced robotic solutions.

At JEC World 2023, from 25 to 27 April, Airbus Atlantic showcased 2 demonstrators for the aircraft of the future: 

  • A new generation of composite rear fuselage panels for the A220: manufactured in Salaunes site, these new-generation panels made of high-performance carbon fibre and thermoset prepreg resin enable significant weight reduction, better resistance to corrosion and increase the interval between inspections.
  • An innovative radome manufactured by an automated process: radomes are exclusively made of non-metallic materials, to meet dielectric and radiofrequency constraints. Developed in Nantes site, the very first mock-up of a radome manufactured thanks to an automated composite fibre lay-up process, involving a change in design, significantly improves industrial performance.


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