A world-leading supplier of aircraft cabin interiors, Safran worked with Victrex to qualify thermoplastic composite parts on aircraft. They are designing a flexible composite platform to cut planning and time-to-market of multiple brackets, with the first being a hybrid over-molded aircraft cabin bracket made of VICTEX AE 250 carbon-fibre-PAEK composite and VIXTREX PEEK polymer. Safran has provided critical expertise in design and manufacturing to ensure applicability in aerospace service and certification environments and Victrex has provided the material, process and tooling expertise required to realize versatile design features while meeting key performance parameters.
“We need to respond to many demand for aircraft brackets and similar structural parts, with each case having many loading, constraint and exposure conditions,” said Tyler Smithson, Sr. R&T Engineer at Safran Cabin. “The key to success is to develop a flexible composite platform that can be used for multiple projects, lowering our part count and design complexity, cutting time-to-market, speeding tome-to-revenue. Working with Victrex, we think that’s what we’ve achieved!”
The design process focussed on defining parts and molds adaptable for multiple brackets, with the goal of achieving a family of designs compatible with the same mould. This involved establishing a cost and weight advantage while considering the flexibility of the platform to be used in various applications.
“At Victrex we are proud of our track record in introducing ‘disruptive’ technological approaches in the sectors that we serve, using our know-how in the processing and performance of PAEK materials to accelerate the commercialization process.” Commented Tim Herr, Director Aerospace at Victrex. “Hybrid overmoulding and VICTREX AE 250 composites are certainly within this category but this is just the beginning. We continue to test our composites offering, with support from our customers and partners in order to demonstrate the full potential of these materials.”
The initial prototype brackets produced at Tri-Mack Plastics Manufacturing Corporation showed up to 20% cost savings; 50% weight savings; and a 5x better buy-to-fly ratio in comparison to the original aluminium part.
The bracket is scheduled currently for final testing and qualification for production parts. The composite bracket is will put in service later in 2019, as per the current plan.