R&D lab in France opened with Arkema / Facility will produce lightweight carbon fibre tapes for aerospace sector
Composites manufacturer Hexcel (Stamford, Connecticut / USA; www.hexcel.com) and speciality chemicals and plastics group Arkema (Colombes / France; www.arkema.com) are set to open the joint R&D laboratory announced in spring 2018 – see Plasteurope.com of 16.04.2018. Located in Les Avenières in the Isère region of eastern France, it will start operations later in April 2019 to produce carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic prepreg tapes.

The companies plan to develop the tapes to enable lightweight parts to be produced for the aerospace and defence industries. An initial industrial pilot line will be installed in the new lab in the coming weeks, and the two firms said they expect to start supplying carbon/thermoplastic unidirectional (UD) tapes from this line to customers for technical evaluation from September. The new plant is the result of a Hexcel and Arkema joint venture set up in March 2018 to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector. The JV combines Hexcel’s work in carbon fibre and Arkema’s developments in PEKK.

Hexcel Reinforcements SASU, a subsidiary of the US composites specialist, operates production facilities for glass fibre in fabric form and carbon fibre reinforcement materials at the site in eastern France. In addition, Les Avenières is Hexcel's European competence centre for carbon fibre-reinforced materials. A share of the reinforcing materials are processed into prepregs.

The US group has also teamed up with start-up Lavoisier Composites (Chassieu / France; www.lavoisier-composites.com). The French company has developed a new generation of material called “Carbonium”, sourced entirely from carbon composite by-products generated by the French aerospace sector.

Lavoisier Composites says Carbonium cuts the overall environmental impact of production by 40-50%, compared to similar products made from virgin materials. A life cycle assessment carried out with Hexcel found that the upcycling of by-products from the aerospace composites industry led to a 13 kg reduction in CO2 emissions for every kg of Carbonium used. Founded in May 2018, Lavoisier Composites has supplied material for two watch models produced by Swiss luxury watchmaker Ulysse Nardin (Le Locle / Switzerland; www.ulysse-nardin.com).
03.04.2019 Plasteurope.com [242153-0]
Published on 03.04.2019
Hexcel: Zusammenarbeit mit Arkema und Lavoisier CompositesGerman version of this article...

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