WING OF TOMORROW
FACC is collaborating with Airbus on the development of innovative wing components for the next generation of aircraft.
The goal is to make aircraft construction faster, simpler and more cost-efficient. To this end, Airbus has launched the "Wing of Tomorrow" program as one of the world's most renowned aircraft manufacturers. FACC is currently working to develop new, more cost efficient lightweight components for future markets, divided in three subprojects: lower covers, flaps and spoilers. The components are required to meet high standards:
Production costs are to be reduced along the entire value chain whilst rapidly reaching a high degree of maturity of the manufacturing processes and ensuring a high rate ramp-up. Therefore, a clear goal is to optimize all production processes and, at the same time, to rapidly increase the number of components produced.
FACC is responsible, among other things, for the wing box lower cover. The wings are five meters long, three meters wide and weigh approximately 320 kilograms. During the development phase, the focus was placed on a number of key issues: a new tooling concept for the construction of prototypes, efficient tolerance management, the avoidance of component distortions and the integration of reinforcement profiles.
The components were manufactured by using the membrane-assisted resin infusion process (MARI) patented by FACC which, together with an innovative tooling concept and near-net-shape production, makes subsequent milling unnecessary. In addition, new matrix systems as well as reinforcing materials were used. Airbus will use the newly developed aircraft components in Broughton (UK) as assembly demonstrations in order to check for functional efficiency and interactions.
The first project was launched in April 2018 and was successfully completed in the first quarter of 2019. The other two "Wing of Tomorrow" projects - flaps and spoilers - will be completed by the end of 2020. At FACC, employees from a wide variety of divisions and departments such as research and development, tooling, design, program, stress and manufacturing are involved in the project. FACC awarded this team performance with the Leonardo 2019. The award recognizes the achievements of employees who perfectly implement innovative projects according to the parameters of the FACC value compass and technology leader approach. The "Wing of Tomorrow - Lower Cover" team developed a completely new component concept within a tight schedule, which impresses with the highest performance and maximum efficiency in production.
The strategic research project "Wing of Tomorrow" will allow FACC to expand its existing research network with Airbus and other partner companies. New product segments will thus be developed, with the technology group repositioning itself as a reliable and innovative partner and strengthening its credentials for participation in future series projects.