Research & Development
Consider everything, implement the best. Only the sky is the limit.
Improving on products and procedures that are already accepted as good, finding new ideas and implementing them is the passion of FACC. Twenty years ago, only 2% of an aircraft was made of composite materials. Nowadays, this percentage has increased to more than 50% and FACC is actively contributing to shape the future of aeronautical engineering.
Since the company was first established, research and development have been one of our focuses, just like our quest for the continued improvement of products and processes.
Safer, more efficient, lighter, quieter, and more eco-friendly: These are key targets of any research project at FACC. In each of the following fields, we employ experts striving to replace metal components with innovative composite structures and to upgrade and refine existing design concepts. Our main competences and specializations include:
Development of manufacturing processes: Our aim is to establish new processes for serial production in our organization. In this endeavor, the increase of the degree of automation and of production quantities, combined with an improvement in product quality, feature as key parameters. Examples include new liquid resin infusion processes, or automated tape laying that automates the manual placement of fiber composite layers on a tool surface.
Prototype development: At this stage, various design concepts for a component are elaborated and assessed. According to the resulting list of priorities, the best concepts are developed into prototypes. These are then subjected to an intensive testing regime which concludes with in-flight use under realistic conditions.
Simulation: Components as well as manufacturing processes are simulated based on the finite element method (FEM). For components, (e.g. structural parts), justifications such as strength, stability, and fatigue are performed in order to ensure their subsequent safe use in all in-flight conditions. Manufacturing processes are simulated to achieve optimum component quality.
Material characterization: The specialists in this field analyze the latest developments of materials research as to their suitability for use at FACC. They examine whether the materials meet the specific requirements of the aeronautics industry and whether they can be adapted to the manufacturing processes in use at FACC.
Current R&D Highlights:
Reduction of the weight of an engine component by 25% by using carbon fiber reinforced plastic material instead of aluminum.
Under development: Morphing winglets that help reduce drag and fuel consumption. They make the structure in the region of the upwardly canted ends of the wingtips movable. Controlled by sensors, it will adapt perfectly to any in-flight attitude (project implemented in cooperation with international research partners).
Replacement for classical bolted/riveted joints: Traditional joints that hail from an era when aircraft were made exclusively of metal could soon be a thing of the past. As a result of FACC's fundamental research, they could in the future be superseded by needle-shaped elements on a thin metallic carrier that transfer loads to the carbon fiber material.
Current R&D projects: