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Inspiration, Innovation, In Production by Hexcel

News International-French

27 Apr 2012

Nearly 4 years after Hexcel was awarded the contract to supply carbon fiber and prepreg for all the composite primary structures of the A350XWB a number of airframe components have now been completed and are heading for the Final Assembly Line in Toulouse.

Last year a number of significant milestones were achieved with the A350 XWB program. In August Airbus delivered the first A350 XWB center wing box from Nantes to St Nazaire for assembly into the first A350 XWB fuselage central section.  This was followed later that month by the delivery of the first A350 XWB Keel Beam.

Both of these huge composite structures were built with HexPly® M21E/IMA carbon fiber and prepreg from Hexcel.

According to Airbus the biggest panels produced for the center wing-box, made entirely from carbon fiber, have a surface area of 36m2 - making them the largest “monobloc” composite panels ever manufactured at their Nantes facility.

Hexcel was awarded the contract by Airbus to supply HexPly® M21E/IMA for all of the A350 XWB primary structures. The A350 XWB structure is 53 per cent composite-based, including major elements such as wings and fuselage.


Last September the first flyable upper and lower wing covers for the A350 XWB were transported from Airbus sites in Stade (Germany) and Illescas (Spain) to Broughton (UK) for the wing assembly.

For these wing covers Hexcel’s HexPly® M21E/IMA is supplied in optimized forms for Automated Tape Lay-Up (ATL) and Automated Fiber Placement (AFP).

The A350 XWB lower wing covers are the biggest single civil aviation parts ever made from carbon fiber, measuring 32 meters long by 6 meters wide.

In addition to supplying HexPly® Prepreg and HexTow® carbon fiber for the A350 XWB Hexcel is supplying a number of other technologies for the aircraft including HexFlow® RTM 6 resin for out of autoclave structures, HexWeb® engineered core assemblies, Redux® adhesives and lightning strike protection solutions.

Photo hereunder:  A350 XWB wing trailing edge panel manufactured by GE Aviation and supplied to Airbus Broughton for the wing assembly.  Sandwich structure using HexPly® 8552 prepreg for the skins and Hexcel's engineered core:





HexWeb® HRH-36 honeycomb which has been spliced and chamfered by NC machining and supplied to GE ready for assembly.