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UPDATED: Out-of-autoclave prepregs find use in Airbus key component

Advanced Composites Group (Warwickshire, UK) has scored commercial success with its MTM 44-1 Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) epoxy resin-based prepregs being adopted by GE Aviation to manufacture the outer and mid-section fixed trailing edge panels for the Airbus A350 XWB wing. Advanced Composites will be rebranded as Umeco effective April 2 this year. The new brand will be officially launched at JEC Europe 2012 in Paris, to be held 27 to 29 March, 2012.

Advanced Composites Group (Warwickshire, UK) has scored commercial success with its MTM44-1 Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) epoxy resin-based prepregs being adopted by GE Aviation to manufacture the outer and mid-section fixed trailing edge panels for the Airbus A350 XWB wing. Advanced Composites will be rebranded as Umeco effective April 2 this year. The new brand will be officially launched at JEC Europe 2012 in Paris, to be held 27 to 29 March, 2012.

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Airbus 350 wings incorporate new epoxy system formed with low-pressure vacuum-bag processing
Following close collaboration over an 18-month process development phase to ensure a smooth introduction of this novel technology, GE Aviation placed an order for the production of the first 18 shipsets which will be used to manufacture honeycomb sandwich structures using OoA processing.

The first milestone for MTM 44-1, Umeco's toughened, structural, OoA prepreg epoxy resin system was in 2008 when the first sub-scale wing box demonstrator was produced for the collaborative research programme ALCAS (Advanced Low Cost Aircraft Structures). The successful use of MTM 44-1 on the wing box demonstrator further validated the capability of this next-generation OoA material. This was achieved as part of an Airbus and Dassault Aviation-led programme aimed at validating the designs and technologies for lower cost aircraft structures.

Airbus and Umeco underpinned the qualification of MTM 44-1 by signing a framework contract which provided commercial and technical stability to Airbus sub-contractors adopting this new technology.

Umeco's MTM 44-1 has been optimised for low-pressure vacuum-bag processing to provide low internal void content (zero to 1%), with the resulting composites performances being comparable to those of standard autoclave cured systems. OoA molding offers benefits such as reduced capital equipment outlay and savings on certain associated processing costs. This technology may also facilitate the manufacture of larger and more integrated structures that would otherwise be excluded by their size and the prohibitive significant investment required for in-autoclave processing.-[email protected]

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