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Hexcel has officially opened an extension to its prepreg plant in Parla, Spain, doubling capacity at the facility in order to support increasing build rates for the Airbus A350XWB and legacy programmes.
At Parla, Hexcel manufactures HexPly® prepreg tape using Hexcel’s HexTow® carbon fibre. Prepregs are fibre-reinforcements that have been pre-impregnated with a resin formulation and are cured using heat and pressure. The resulting laminates are exceptionally strong and tough, yet considerably lighter than aluminium. Over 50% of the Airbus A350 XWB structure is made from composites and HexPly® M21E/IMA from Hexcel is the carbon fibre prepreg of choice for all the A350 XWB primary structures, including the wing and tail cone sections that are manufactured by the nearby Airbus Spain plant and Airbus subcontractors in Europe. Prepregs have been manufactured at the Parla plant for the last 23 years, with the first prepregs delivered to Airbus in 1989. Hexcel opened the first carbon fibre plant in Spain at Illescas, Toledo in May 2008. The new prepreg plant at Parla will convert this carbon fibre into the prepreg tape that is used for automated processing of composites.
The new building was officially opened today at a ceremony where speeches were made by Hexcel President & COO, Nick Stanage, Rafael Gonzalez-Ripoll, Director General of Airbus Operations, Don Jose Maria Fraile, Mayor of Parla and Don Percival Manglano, Madrid Regional Minister for the Economy. Commenting at the Ceremony Hexcel President & COO Nick Stanage said: “This expansion at Hexcel Parla is a continuation of our strategy of supporting our key customers by adding capacity so that we may provide timely state-of-the-art prepreg materials right to their points of use. We are very pleased to support the growth of our longtime partner Airbus and we wish to thank our customers, the local community and all those who have supported us in expanding our world class prepreg facility here in Spain.”