New advanced composites components have entered service on Bombardier Aerospace’s Next Generation regional jets, following Bombardier’s £8m investment in the development of its advanced composites capabilities in Belfast.
The composite flaps, vanes and ailerons for the Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 NextGen aircraft are being produced in a new 20,000 square feet dedicated facility in Bombardier’s plant in Dunmurry, west Belfast, using an innovative Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) technology.
The RTM composite wing components are being fitted to Northwest Airlines’ CRJ900 NextGen regional jets, one of which is currently on display in Bombardier’s static area at the Paris Air Show. Northwest’s first CRJ900 NextGen entered service in early June. The application of the RTM components will become standard on all CRJ700 NextGen and CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, including the new CRJ1000. An example of the RTM flap and other composites technology are also on exhibit in Bombardier’s pavilion at the Air Show.
The RTM process allows for the manufacture of components in a much more integrated and efficient way than the traditional composites process, and requires fewer parts. For example, the total number of parts needed to assemble the wing components has fallen by almost 80 per cent for the aileron and 95 per cent for the flap and the vane.
Benefits to airlines include reduced inspection and maintenance costs, as advanced composite structures do not suffer corrosion like metal. RTM also offers the potential for reduced weight and improved aerodynamics, which contribute to fuel efficiency and environmental benefits.
Commenting on the investment in its composites capabilities, Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: “Bombardier has over 30 years’ experience in composites, and this investment helps to reinforce our position as a centre of excellence in this field. We are investing in the next generation of composite technologies, in particular resin transfer infusion technologies such as RTM, to ensure Bombardier is at the forefront of the application of carbon fibre reinforced structures, which are playing an increasing role in new aircraft design.
“Following five years of strategic research, it is particularly gratifying to see these world-class technologies being applied and entering service on the latest Bombardier aircraft, and we look forward to further developing these for future aircraft.”
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from regional aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2007, were $14.8 billion US and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). News and information are available at www.bombardier.com.
Bombardier, CRJ700, CRJ900, CRJ1000 andNextGen are trademarks of Bombardier Inc or it subsidiaries.
Notes to editors
The £8m investment by Bombardier in developing the new RTM composites capabilities has been supported by Regional Development Agency, Invest Northern Ireland, which provided a £1.5m grant towards the total cost of the investment.
Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast has a composite manufacturing portfolio of over 30 components covering all aspects of airframe structures including flaps, nacelles, rudders, fairings, and landing gear doors.
Bombardier is continuing to develop its composites capabilities through technology development activities such as UK and European research programmes TANGO (wing spars); ALCAS (integrally stiffened wing covers); Integrated Wing (composite primary structure) and SILENCER (nacelle acoustic intake liner development).
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