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News

Low viscosity epoxy resin for Airbus front panel protoype manufacture

Huntsman Advanced Materials (Basel) : 08 November, 2012  (Application Story)
Araldite 8615 resin has been used by French tooling specialist Loiretech in the manufacturing process of the prototype phase for the lower front panels on the new A350 Airbus.
Low viscosity epoxy resin for Airbus front panel protoype manufacture

Originally founded in 1988 under the name Loire Modelage the business designs and manufactures tooling for large, complex thermoplastic and composite parts for customers primarily in the Aerospace, Automotive, Defence and Rail industries.  The company has considerable experience with resin infusion technologies.

On this project, Loiretech was subcontracted by Aerolia, the leading French aerostructure manufacturing company and partner to Airbus, to design and produce moulds for one of the most famous names in the European Aerospace industry, against a demanding timeframe.

The new Airbus 350 is the latest in a family of long range, wide-bodied jet airliners developed by the European aircraft manufacturer. Capable of carrying between 250 and 350 passengers, depending on the specification, it is the first aircraft of its kind which has wings and fuselage made primarily of carbon reinforced polymer.
 
Airbus is owned by EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company NV which also has Airbus Military, Eurocopter and Astrium, the European space programme, in its portfolio.
 
Loiretech chose Araldite 8615 for this particular application primarily for its very low viscosity, which delivers optimum impregnation of the carbon fibres during the infusion process.  It also offers the long pot life that facilitates the very large tooling capability required in aircraft manufacturing for parts typically up to 20m in length.  The Araldite system was supplied by DiL France, Huntsman Advanced Materials’ area distributor.
 
Working with products and technical support supplied by Huntsman Advanced Materials the team from Loiretech completed the project in an impressive 16 weeks.
 
Marc Moret, President of Loiretech, comments: “With a customer such as Airbus and an application of this kind, there can be no compromise in the quality of the manufacturing process. The mould was created using resin infusion on a CNC milled master model.  Araldite 8615’s high Tg is an important parameter for such moulds.  With its ability to withstand 300 curing cycles at temperatures up to 180C, it fulfils critical performance criteria and we have already used this type of system to make large composite molds for the aerospace industry in serial production.”
 
In August 2012 Airbus successfully powered up the flight deck of the A350 for the first time. The A350 XWB (extra wide body) will feature large carbon reinforced polymer panels for the fuselage skin and composite fuselage frames for the aircraft structure.  The launch customer for the A350 is Qatar Airways which has ordered a total of 80 aircraft across the three variants.

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