Case story

World's First Thermoplastic Rear Pressure Bulkhead

Premium Aerotec has recently developed an innovative thermoplastic rear pressure bulkhead, using TenCate Cetex® thermoplastic composite materials, meeting the challenge of increased build rates whilst lightweighting the existing generation of single aisle aircraft.

Producing large aircraft components to meet the increasing build rates of OEMs is the challenge facing Tier 1 suppliers. This necessitates metal replacement. Converting existing aluminum components into thermoplastic composites is seen as one of the solutions.

Using over a decade of experience in TenCate Cetex® thermoplastic composites, Premium Aerotec has designed and manufactured a rear pressure bulkhead demonstrator in just 4 months.

Premium Aerotec’s project objectives were:

1. A complex part

2. Deliver weight performance

3.Shorter production times

Solution

By utilizing TenCate Cetex® TC1100 Carbon/PPS reinforced thermoplastic laminates and a highly automated volume production process, Premium Aerotec:

  • Used cutting-edge welding of 3D-shaped components
  • Connected the stringers of eight segments of equal size during the welding process
  • Reduced weight of the part by 25%
  • Delivered weight performance. Thermoplastic part composite weight of 30 kg/40 lb compared to aluminum component 40 kg/66 lb
  • Reduced processing time by 15%
  • Achieved higher rate of manufacturing of in excess of one hundred units per month
  • Lower overall costs to >10%
  • Composite material solution is competitive in comparison to aluminum

With the combination of TenCate Cetex® materials and Premium Aerotec’s expertise, the foundations are laid for the next generation of primary structure components. The Premium Aerotec rear pressure bulkhead demonstrator is a finalist at the CAMX Unsurpassed Innovation Award.

Features

Choosing TenCate Cetex® thermoplastic composites delivered better mechanical performance of the part and the opportunity to recycle at the end of product life.

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