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Home » News » Hexcel Launches £7.4m Project to Create New Carbon Fiber Fabrics for Cutting-Edge Aircraft Parts
14.09.2017

Hexcel Launches £7.4m Project to Create New Carbon Fiber Fabrics for Cutting-Edge Aircraft Parts

Hexcel Launches £7.4m Project to Create New Carbon Fiber Fabrics for Cutting-Edge Aircraft Parts

Hexcel, a global leader in advanced composites technologies, has announced today that it will be launching a new Government-backed £7.4 million research and development project, MAXIM, and expanding its manufacturing facility in Leicester.

The four-year Multi AXial Infused Materials (MAXIM) project, backed by the UK Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and match-funded by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, will be responsible for developing progressive, cost-effective materials and manufacturing solutions for large aerospace and automotive composite structures.

Most large aerospace composite parts are made from “prepreg” where the carbon fibres and resins have already been combined.  Converting this material into solid parts requires huge pressurised ovens, known as autoclaves. The MAXIM project will explore the manufacture of new carbon fibre fabric forms and resins that can be made into parts without using autoclaves.  The aim is to enable complex metal structures, such as aircraft wings, to be manufactured more cost effectively and at faster production rates from composites.

Composite structures are around 25-30% lighter than metal equivalents, delivering positive environmental benefits. For example, by making aircraft lighter they will use less fuel and produce fewer CO2 emissions. 

Hexcel is investing in expanding its Leicester plant by installing a state-of-the art machine for carbon non-crimp fabrics development and lab equipment for research into this technology. The company will be working closely with the National Composites Centre to leverage their expertise in material handling and part processing.

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