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Ticona receives aeronautics prize for first helicopter thermoplastic composite tailplane

News International-French

13 Mar 2013

Together with Fokker Aerostructures, AgustaWestland and TenCate Aerospace Composites, Ticona has received the Aeronautics category award at the opening ceremony of the JEC Europe

Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corporation, will again receive a prestigious JEC Innovation Award for the first thermoplastic composite tailplane developed and put into production for a helicopter. It uses a composite prepreg made with Fortron® polyphenylene sulfide (PPS). Together with Fokker Aerostructures, AgustaWestland and TenCate Aerospace Composites, Ticona has received the Aeronautics category award at the opening ceremony of the JEC Europe - Composites Show on Tuesday, March 12, in Paris.

The award goes to the new tailplane of the AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter primarily due to its energy-saving lightness: With a 15 percent weight reduction compared with predecessor models made from conventional composites, this innovative composite makes a considerable contribution to a fuel-saving construction and thus to greater profitability and lower emissions. As the first of its kind, the 3-meter long tailplane has a single-piece torsion box made from thermoplastic composite. This core element comprises four preforms co-consolidated under pressure. Both the leading and trailing edges of the tailplane are made from reinforced thermoplastic composite laminates attached to thin, pressed ribs and individually exchangeable. All the components are made from preformed TenCate Cetex® prepregs based on Fortron PPS. The curved tailplane tips are made from conventional carbon-epoxy preforms.

The substantial weight saving is made possible by the high resilience of the thermoplastic material as well as the strength and stiffness of the torsion box designed by Fokker Aerostructures in multi-spar construction. The economical manufacture of this complex component results from the co-consolidation of simple preforms. Excellent durability and impact strength of the thermoplastic leading and trailing edges are among the other advantages of the tailplane construction awarded the prize by the jury of experts.

This is the third time Ticona has been recognized with a JEC Innovation Award for composite applications using Fortron PPS:

  • 2011 JEC Innovation Award in the Thermoplastics category— Cutting Dynamics Inc. (CDi), along with Ticona, TenCate Advanced Composites and A&P Technology (A&P), developed a modular composite seat back assembly used in passenger seat assemblies on lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

  • 2010 JEC Innovation Award in the Aeronautics category— Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Fokker Aerostructures, KVE, TenCate and Ticona developed the first welded thermoplastic composite aircraft primary structure on the Gulfstream G650.

JEC is the largest composites exhibition and technical conference in the world. Each year, a jury of experts chooses the best composite innovations, based on their technical interest, market potential, partnership, financial impact and originality.

The AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter is available for civil aviation. The manufacturer plans production of more than 500 units.

About Celanese and Ticona:
Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. With sales almost equally divided between North America, Europe and Asia, the company uses the full breadth of its global chemistry, technology and business expertise to create value for customers and the corporation. Celanese partners with customers to solve their most critical needs while making a positive impact on its communities and the world. Based in Dallas, Texas, Celanese employs approximately 7,600 employees worldwide and had 2012 net sales of $6.4 billion. 

Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corporation, is part of the Advanced Engineered Materials segment with net sales of $1,261 million in fiscal 2012. It produces and markets a broad range of high performance products, and employs more than 1,500 individuals at production, compounding and research facilities in the USA, Germany, Brazil and China.