A350XWB Fiber Placement Spars; From R&D Conception Phase to Serial Production
At the end of 2006, two MTorres engineers visited the plant of Airbus UK in Filton receiving a new challenge: Find a more efficient way to manufacture Carbon Fiber Spars for the new A350 program. The range of possibilities were wide: manual infusion methods (RTM, RIM, RFI...), Automatic Taping & hot forming, or the new technology proposed, Fiberplacement or AFP. Two (2) options were considered: hot forming+ATL and AFP (both using prepeg technology.) The usage of a flat lay-up + hot forming technology was used in the only Airbus program that used carbon fiber for the wing manufacturing so far, the A400M. The expected greater complexity of A350 spar created doubts on the feasibility of using the above process, while the AFP technology, consisting of laying up directly on the final shape of the spar, also raised questions of technical feasibility, apart from the economic ?business case?, in case the productivity of the cell was not big enough. A ?Spar team?