Deals

Prodrive Composites has announced its won projects worth more than £5 million to work on four new British sports cars.

With new manufacturing processes driving down the costs of producing carbon composite parts, manufacturers are starting to specify them even more on mid ranged sports cars. Prodrive will supply a range of composite components to 3 different UK-based car manufacturers.

Components being manufactured for each sports car include carbon aero packs with rear wings, diffusers and front splitters, along with further exterior trim parts such as bonnet vents and sills. Several of these components will be made using Prodrive’s patented TPP injection process which was introduced in 2014.

Dominic Cartwright, Prodrive Composites managing director said;

Carbon composites used to only be the domain of exotic super cars, but new manufacturing processes are bringing down their cost and we are increasingly being asked to quote for parts on sports cars and mid-priced luxury cars.

Prodrive Composites is already manufacturing the composite bodywork and interior for a British super car as part of an ongoing £20 million contract, as well as a number of projects in the marine, aerospace and space industries. These contracts have seen the company increase its workforce from 70 to nearly 180 in just the last 18 months.

Kaman have been awarded a new long-term agreement by Bell Helicopters for Military Rotor Blade Components

Kaman has announced its been awarded an extension to its current contract with Bell Helicopter to manufacture skin components for the Bell UH–1Y and AH–1Z helicopters. This five-year follow on contract has an expected value in excess of $25 million. The components will continue to be manufactured at the Kaman Composite Structures facility in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

Kaman started supplying Bell Helicopters back in 2011 and is a major supplier of integrated aerostructures, including metallic and composite structural assemblies and metallic parts for aerospace companies engaged in commercial and military aircraft and aeroengine programs.

Exelis has announced its won a multimillion dollar contract from Airbus to manufacture the centre wing box struts for the A350–1000 aircraft.

The composite struts help distribute load from the wings and fuselage into the centre wing box providing structural support for the airframe. Using a patented manufacturing technology called STaR (Struts, Tubes and Rods) that was licensed by Exelis from Bodair S.A the unique strut design provides a high strength-to-weight ratio alternative to metallic struts and, according to the company has greater weight savings when compared with rival composite production methods.

Mike Blair, vice president and general manager of Exelis Aerostructures said;

With significant weight savings and reduced maintenance costs, composite structures and components continue to replace traditional metallic structures on next-generation aircraft, and the Airbus A350 XWB is a prime example. We are positioned to meet the growing market demands and provide our customer with significant value through our Exelis StaR product line, delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions at a high rate of production.

The Airbus A350–1000 is the longest fuselage version of the Airbus wide-body jetliners, as with the other A350 XWB family members, the A350–1000 combines the latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies to realise a 25% saving in fuel compared to its current aluminium long-range competitor.

Deliveries of the new parts are scheduled to begin in 2016 and will continue through 2020.

TenCate Advanced Composites, has been chosen by Marenco Swisshelicopter as the main supplier of composite materials for its next generation, lightweight helicopter.

The SKYe SH09 is a single engine helicopter and made its first flight in October 2014. The SKYe SH09 features a full composite airframe as well as all-composite main and tail rotor blades; it is equipped with glass cockpit, avionics systems and the Honeywell HTS–900–2 turbine engine.

With a cruise speed of 270 km/h (145 knots) it is not only one of the fastest single engine light helicopter in its class, but also offers very long-range – in excess of 800km (430 nautical miles) with standard fuel tanks.

TenCate will supply the Swiss helicopter maker an Epoxy resin that’s known for its toughness and ability to be used in out of autoclave fabrication conditions. Frank Meurs, Group Director of TenCate Advanced Composites EMEA, said;

We are very pleased to have been chosen by Marenco Swisshelicopter for the supply of our system based materials for this new and important project. This complements our global growth strategy in thermoset materials, not only from our facilities in the United States of America, but also from our facility in Langley Mill, United Kingdom.

The SKYe SH09 is scheduled to go into production within the next 12 to 16 months.

Gurit has announced that it has been selected as the supplier for carbon fibre based automotive body panels at a total contract value of more than £20 million calculated on a multi-annual basis.

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2015, the new project features industrial production of exterior Class-A carbon body panel parts utilising both Gurit’s existing open mould manual and its new proprietary and patented advanced press technology.

Gurit’s press technology results from continuous research and close collaboration with leading car manufacturers. The hot compression moulding production technology significantly reduces curing time thus enabling efficient industrial production of small-scale series which are fully compatible with existing OEM mass production and assembly methods. Key features of the new technology also include parts accuracy, high-quality carbon look capability as well as quality surface quality.

Gurit has been supplying carbon fibre based car body panels to manufacturers since 2007. Making car body panels from composite materials not only provides car manufacturers with greater design flexibility compared with metal panel technology.

U.K.-based Aircelle Ltd has announced the signing of a major deal with Velocity Composites

Under terms of the five-year agreement, Velocity Composites based in Burnley will provide engineered structural and consumable material kits, enabling Aircelle to achieve savings on material costs and improve productivity for the nacelle components it builds.

Stéphane Cueille, the Managing Director of Aircelle Ltd commented;

Velocity has worked with Aircelle since its formation, and this deal demonstrates both how far the company has progressed, as well as our confidence in their processes.

The partnership with Aircelle is a significant milestone in the growth of Velocity Composites. Founded with Aircelle’s support as a three-person business in 2007, Velocity now employs 85 people at a 32,000 sq. ft. site and expects its regional workforce to exceed 100 early in 2015, along with a second site in the south of England.

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