Victrex Expects Growth due to Aerospace Demand
Thermoplastic Composites Vital for Aircraft Manufacture
The aircraft industry has forecast that over 35,000 new aircraft will be required within the next 20 years. Meeting this kind of escalating demand calls for new approaches and new technologies. As a consequence, thermoplastic composites are expected to play an increasingly important role in accelerating future aircraft construction.
Thermoplastic composites offer multiple advantages, including very short production times and low overall costs, compared to their thermoset counterparts, which today are in frequent use. A typical thermoplastic composite part can reduce the manufacturing time by 20-30% compared to metals or other polymer materials. Jakob Sigurdsson, Victrex CEO, considers Victrex, Thornton Cleveleys, UK, well positioned to help accelerate the conversion from thermosets to thermoplastics. The company is partnering with Aerospace OEMs and research centres, in particular around its Victrex AE 250 composites product family and related technology, enabling aircraft manufacturers to drive high throughput, while still meeting safety, quality and environmental requirements.
Last year, Victrex announced it was investing in a joint venture, TxV Aero Composites, with long-standing development partner TriMack Manufacturing, to build the necessary supply chain. The partners remain convinced that this is an essential step in accelerating the adoption of thermoplastics and innovative manufacturing techniques that aim to speed up aircraft production and promote fast time-to-market and fast time-to-revenue. The acquisition of fiber specialist Zyex and participation in the Thermoplastic Composite Research Centre (TPRC) are also in line with Victrex's long-term objective of enabling greatly enhanced efficiency within the aerospace industry. Tim Herr, Director Aerospace at Victrex, explains: “Supply chain and capacity are important criteria for increasing the amount of thermoplastic composites in future aircraft programmes. When using high-performance polymers, the initial costs for thermoplastic composites may be much higher. However, when we consider total costs, the equation immediately looks much different.”
Victrex Europa GmbH
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