Leading the way in Composite Technology

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At its Western Approach site near Bristol, UK, GKN Aerospace produces composite wing spars for the A350 XWB aircraft using state of the art carbon fibre fabrication techniques.

These spars are the result of advanced technology and manufacturing. Working closely with the Airbus, the GKN engineering team achieved demanding weight, strength and flexibility targets for the 27 metre composite rear wing spar.

Russ Brigham, A350 Programme Manager, explains how advanced automated fibre placement machines use robotic heads to lay down carbon fibre reinforced plastic material at more than eight times the maximum hand lay-up speed with a consistency and accuracy that is impossible to achieve manually. The result is higher production rates, lower manufacturing costs and a spar which supports increased aircraft performance, with reduced weight, fuel consumption and emissions