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Having announced its entry into the downstream fabrication of unidirectional tape (UDTs) and laminate panels in October last year, Victrex (Thornton Cleveleys, UK) plans to display its new offerings for the first time in Europe at the JEC World Composites Show in Paris this March 8-10 (Hall 5A, Stand J6).

February 22, 2016

2 Min Read
Victrex makes its debut at JEC World Composites Show

More than 35,000 aircraft are predicted to be required worldwide over the next 20 years. It is in this context that plane manufacturers are fiercely competing to increase the speed of manufacture and reduce the cost and weight of their aircraft, focusing in particular on the use of composites.

Catch Victrex's of unidirectional
tapesand laminate panels at this
year's JEC World Composites Show
in Paris.

Victrex feels it has a strong play in this market with its a PAEK-based product family of Victrex AE250 composites that can potentially deliver on these industry requirements. "We believe that our materials and technology solutions will continue to tilt market share in favor of composites in the aircraft construction industry. They help to reduce costs, achieve weight savings, offer more design freedom and provide durability and fast production times," explains Tim Herr, Aerospace Director at Victrex.

Specifically designed for the aerospace industry, VICTREX AE250 composites are said to enable the production of continuously-reinforced components that perform extremely well under load. Components manufactured in this way include brackets, clamps, clips and housings used throughout the aircraft in primary and secondary structures, from the cabin - including seats - to the engines and fuel tank.

In addition to providing up to a 60% reduction in weight compared with metals, the main advantage of the high-strength, continuously-reinforced composites is the reduction of manufacturing time and system costs. This is the result of smarter designs and semi- or fully-automated mass production using hybrid molding technology.

The hybrid molding process enables Victrex AE250 composites in the form of inserts analog to metals to be overmolded with short fiber reinforced Victrex PEEK polymers. This allows engineers to combine the mechanical properties of the composites with the design flexibility and fast production times of the injection-molding process.

It is not necessary to pre-heat the Victrex AE250 organosheets nearly up to the melting temperature before inserting them into the injection molding press. The benefits resulting from the use of the Victrex composites include improved cycle times, reduced energy consumption, elimination of secondary process steps, reduced amounts of scrap and also savings in installation expense, all of which can make a substantial contribution to reducing overall system costs. "This technology paves the way for components which can be manufactured more cost-effectively and with increased functionality and reliability," adds Herr.

Composites made from Victrex high-performance thermoplastics are up to 60% lighter than AISI 4130 steel, a tough chromium-nickel-molybdenum alloy widely used in aviation applications. They can also achieve significant weight advantages over lightweight metals, including TA6V titanium, 7075-T6 aluminum or ZK60A-T5 magnesium. The high performance composites are not only lighter than these metals, they also outperform them. For example, the specific strength of the composites is five times that of AISI 4130 steel.

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