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Two significant milestones in the A350 XWB programme occurred this month. On August 8th Airbus delivered the first A350 XWB centre wing box from Airbus’ site in Nantes to its St Nazaire facility for assembly into the first A350 XWB fuselage central section. This was followed on August 12th by the delivery of the first A350 XWB Keel Beam, again from Nantes to St Nazaire.
Both of these huge composite structures were built with HexPly® M21E/IMA carbon fibre and prepreg from Hexcel. Hexcel was awarded the contract by Airbus to supply HexPly® M21E/IMA for all of the A350 XWB primary structures.
Delivery of A350 XWB and A380 Centre Wing Boxes
According to Airbus the biggest panels produced for the centre wing-box, made entirely from carbon fibre, have a surface area of 36m2 - making them the largest “monobloc” composite panels ever manufactured at their Nantes facility. The A350 XWB structure is 53 per cent composite-based, including major elements such as wings and fuselage.
Hexcel Corporation is a leading advanced composites company. It develops, manufactures and markets lightweight, high-performance structural materials, including carbon fibers, reinforcements for composites, prepregs, honeycomb, matrix systems, adhesives and composite structures, used in commercial aerospace, space and defense and industrial applications.