EADS Innovation Works, the Group’s research and technology arm, will be recognised for its composites technologies expertise with two awards. The prizes are granted by the JEC Group, which promotes the development of products and services for the worldwide composites industry.



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The awards – to be presented at the JEC Composites show in Paris on 13 April – are for the application of innovative unidirectional braiding technology in the production of composite aircraft frames, and a demonstrator for the assembly of composite aircraft structures using structural adhesive bonding. “With these two projects, EADS Innovation Works has made significant steps in demonstrating solutions for two of the often-cited weaknesses of composite component production: cost-effective manufacturing of high volume components, and integrated design and assembly,” said EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti. “Knowledge gained in these projects continues to support the evolution of composite structures throughout EADS and its business units.”

For the annual JEC awards, a jury of renowned international experts selects the best composites innovations based on their technical interest, market potential, partnership, financial impact and originality. In 2010, award winners were chosen from the categories of process and automation, aeronautics, bio-based materials, building and construction, environment and recycling, raw materials, sports and leisure, transportation and wind energy. EADS Innovations Works will receive the Automation Category award for applying its unidirectional braiding technology to a production line process that enables the manufacture of high-quality, low-cost composite aircraft frames with significant design flexibility and excellent repeatability.

Developed in cooperation with SGL Kümpers, the production line involves a quasi-endless procedure in which aircraft frames are manufactured on a highly automated circular machine that is sized to the same diameter as the aircraft’s fuselage. This automated pre-form production line – which is based on an existing SGL Kümpers production unit – enables higher volume and lower cost production, while the EADS-developed uniaxial braiding process improves the carbon fibres’ compressive strength to provide significantly better mechanical properties and additional weight savings.

EADS Innovation Works and SGL Kümpers collaborated on the automated preform production line in a two-year project. The system has been installed at the Airbus Composite Technology Centre (CTC) 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 Automated Category award winner, judges noted the EADS Innovation Works/Airbus/SGL Kümpers 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 other JEC award is for the MOJO (Modular Joints for composite aircraft composites) demonstrator, which produced one of the first airframe structures designed for assembly with structural adhesive bonding. This recognition, awarded in the JEC Process Category, involved a European team led by Belgian SABCA, with the participation of EADS Innovation Works, EADS Germany, Biteam, the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures, Dassault Aviation, DLR, Eurocopter, KTH– University of Stockholm, Premium AEROTEC, Secar Technologie, the University of Patras and Czech research institute VZLU.

The component developed as the MOJO demonstrator was a full-sized closed beam structure. It was manufactured with out-of-autoclave infusion processes that included resin transfer moulding (RTM) for the top and side panels, and the vacuum-assisted resin infusion (VARI) process for the lower panel. Also used were non-crimp carbon fabrics and tailored preformed profiles made of high-performance textiles.

Structural bonding techniques demonstrated in the MOJO project could provide up to 60 per cent assembly cost savings when compared to more traditional “black metal” composites parts. Innovations validated by the MOJO team are expected to lead to the use of structural adhesive bonding in components such as wing-skin panels, vertical and horizontal tail planes, flap-track beams, cargo and passenger doors, as well as airframes for unmanned air vehicles.

In selecting the MOJO demonstrator for JEC’s Process Category award, the judges noted that while structural bonding still is not a widely accepted alternative to riveting, demonstrator projects such as MOJO will “help change minds and gain a wider acceptance” for “rivetless” carbon fibre reinforced plastic structures. This will lead to cost and performance benefits, along with improved damage tolerance characteristics.

EADS Innovation Works technologies applied in both the MOJO demonstrator and the unidirectional braiding process are available for external licensing, and are being exhibited by the EADS Technology Licensing initiative at this week’s JEC Composites show (Hall 1, Exhibit T 46).

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, the Group - comprising Airbus, Eurocopter, EADS Astrium and EADS Defence & Security – generated revenues of € 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.

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