Spirit AeroSystems [NYSE: SPR] today announced it has developed new production methods for carbon fiber composite materials that will enable lower costs and higher production volumes for future aircraft components. The ASTRA (Advanced Structures Technology and Revolutionary Architectures) panel, a full-scale demonstration fuselage panel using this new proprietary architecture, is on display starting today at the Paris Air Show.
"Our new disruptive technology will offer step-change improvements in terms of cost and weight," said Spirit AeroSystems Senior Director of Research and Technology Eric Hein. "For instance, our integrated sheet stringer, an internal fuselage support component, can be formed in place, eliminating many of the processes used today. This includes a separate stringer forming line and elimination of multiple tools."
Multiple new technologies are integrated within this solution, Hein explained. The seamless sheet stringer and skin provides smooth, continuous surfaces for attaching frames and other hardware. Weight savings are achieved by more efficient application of composite fiber tape placement. Non-vented bladder systems used in the aerostructures manufacturing process improve quality, and low-cost production tooling reduces overall new program costs.
In addition, Spirit is leveraging a new composite material, Toray T1100/3960, that provides enhanced structural performance and QISO braided fabric made by A&P Technology, which offers greater formability. These concepts have been validated by Spirit researchers through hundreds of manufacturing demonstrators and structural tests.
"Spirit is a premier tier-one provider of composite aerostructures," Hein added. "We are shaping a new approach to composite fabrication and assembly."
To see the ASTRA panel and learn more about the process, visit the State of Kansas booth in USA Pavilion, Hall 3, Stand 3-C98.