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AIC completes build of $2.7million hot drape former for major Chinese aerospace manufacturer

Engineering manufacturer AIC Group today announced that it had completed the build of a $2.7million hot drape forming machine for a major Chinese aerospace manufacturer based in Shanghai. It will be used to pre-form the carbon fibre used to make the wing spars for their new aircraft.

AIC commissioned a new factory to manufacture the former with a footprint of 10000ft2. As the machine was assembled, it was laid out as it will be in Shanghai. AIC plans to complete most of the commissioning and training for six operators before shipment. The same operators will assist with the assembly and integration within the aerospace manufacturer's facility.

The forming process takes a flat laminate of tape laid carbon fibre of up to 20mm thick already pre-impregnated with resin and under a process combining both heat and accurately controlled vacuum, will gently bend the laminate over a heated tool to take the preformed shape ready for the next stage of curing in an autoclave.

The machine can process components of up to 18 metres long by 1.5 metre wide at temperatures of circa 100°C.

This technology has been around for some time but today, components are invariably more complex and require a much greater level of control and machine capability.

The machine is due to be shipped in November and be commissioned for use by March 2014. Because of its overall size, AIC has significantly re-designed the equipment so that it can be split into smaller parts to facilitate shipping. The machine and all the related components will require at least 10 large trucks!

AIC recently announced that it has appointed a new agent in China, with whom they had worked to secure this contract.

Tony Toll, CEO of AIC, said: “This is the largest machine we have manufactured to date. It is a tremendous endorsement of British manufacturing and engineering and shows we are at the forefront of the global race. Our customer could have chosen to go to a number of different countries around the world. They chose here because of our skills, knowledge and experience. Though this is a highly complex high-tech piece of kit, we will deliver the hot drape former on time and on budget. That's what we do.”

Press release issued by VFE Autoclaves & Ovens (was AIC) on October 14, 2013

 

 Contact details from our directory:
VFE Autoclaves & Ovens (was AIC) Autoclaves, Composite Tape Lay-down, Industrial Ovens

 

 Related directory sectors:
Production Equipment
Composites

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