Spirit AeroSystems Inc was founded in 2005 and now it is the largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer in the world. Their headquarters are located in Wichita, Kansas, but they have sites operating in North America, Europe and Asia. Spirit manufactures fuselage sections and front wing spars for the Airbus A350.
Another member of A320neo family will be delivered by Airbus after mid-2019. Everything will be the same, the familiar row of five composite spoiler panels on each wing, except a new change will be made. Airbus has been using the honeycomb-sandwich composite material but now the company is two years away from launching a spoiler made from a different material. The process is going to include the use of a dry, non-crimp fabric loaded into a heated tool outside of an autoclave and then infused with the epoxy resin.
The innovative spoiler material will make a huge difference into this industry: it is a low cost composite material cheaper than 40$ per pound. After launching the A320new in 2019, Spirit is preparing to deliver an out-of-autoclave composite wing. Therefore in three years, aerostructure companies might be able to choose from three composite materials: autoclave and out of autoclave cured thermoset materials and thermoplastic structures. Nowadays most composite parts are thermoset which are easier to destroy and challengeable to repair, therefore Spirit has a new project in mind: developing thermoplastic composites for aerospace applications. .
“There’s just so much incredible creativity from companies,” says John Pilla, Spirit’s chief technology officer, adding that each type of material “will find their application”.
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