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Fokker and NLR open high-tech ‘Pilot Plant’ for composite components

News International-French

26 Mar 2015

The plant, located in Marknesse (Netherlands) will produce composite landing gear components while also developing new manufacturing techniques for high performance composites.

Other high-tech companies that develop composites can also use the facility for testing their materials and automating production processes. Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink, CEO of FME and initiator of Smart Industry, will officially open the Pilot Plant.

The new ‘Automated Composite Manufacturing Pilot Plant’ is regarded as a step in developing expert knowledge of composites in the Netherlands. Composites are increasing replacing steel or aluminium parts in the aviation industry; moreover, composites are often stronger, more sustainable, less expensive, and capable of being applied in a wide variety of areas.

The ACM Pilot Plant will start with the further robotification of the production of composite landing gear components. In a wider context, the plant will focus on producing composites reinforced with industrial resins, for which the plant is outfitted with ultra-modern equipment, including one of the largest robotic composite fibre braiding machines in Europe.

The ACM Pilot Plant is open to other companies that want to produce their composites on a large scale, including to companies that are active outside the aviation sector. The knowledge and facilities available in Marknesse are suited for developing cost-efficient manufacturing methods. It is often precisely this last step - between a prototype and launching the product - that proves so difficult in bringing innovations to market.

This new facility derives from a public-private partnership between Fokker Landing Gear and the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), in close collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the province of Flevoland and the Noordoostpolder municipality. This Pilot Plant is the embodiment of the ‘golden triangle’ between government, industry and knowledge institutions. The ACM Pilot Plant is part of Smart Industry Fieldlab Flexible Manufacturing’, for which plans for further development are currently being devised.

At the Pilot Plant 20 highly skilled automation experts and operators are engaged in automating, optimizing and rendering sustainable the manufacturing processes.

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