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INTERVIEW – Marie Weiss – Head of European programmes & R&T Project manager, IRT Jules Verne

JEC Composites Magazine interviewed Marie Weiss, IRT Jules Verne’s Head of European programmes & R&T Project manager, during the inauguration of Madras line. This 18m long production line is a milestone in Wing project. Starting in 2017, this partnership lead by IRT Jules Verne in collaboration with Airbus, Fives Machining and Loiretech aims to evaluate the ability of textile technologies to meet production rates of 5-6 times higher for the aeronautics industry for large scale parts and complex geometry.

INTERVIEW – Marie Weiss – Head of European programmes & R&T Project manager, IRT Jules Verne
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Marie Weiss - Head of European programmes & R&T Project manager, IRT Jules VerneJEC Composites Magazine: Who initiated this Wing project, and how were the partners chosen? 
Marie Weiss: This was : an AIRBUS initiative, with a request to European technical centres to make proposals on high-volume time. Following the technical proposal, the IRT Jules Verne (IRTJV) technological research institute called on its members to form an additional consortium.

JEC Composites Magazine: What are the priority goals for this collaborative project, which started more than two years ago?
Marie Weiss: The goals are to develop an innovative process capable of lowering the scrap rate down to 5% and fabricating preforms at a production rate of 100-150 kg/h.

JEC Composites Magazine: The prototype phase for the Madras line has been completed. What were the main technical and organizational obstacles?
Marie Weiss: The demonstration phase is now ongoing. Technically speaking, the greatest difficulty in the beginning came with being able to work with the appropriate materials for this new process, in particular ones with high drapability at low preforming temperatures.

Madras Line

JEC Composites Magazine: Now you will be working to industrialize the process. What are the next steps and the challenges to tackle?
Marie Weiss: Industrialization will be dealt with by extracting numerical versions of real factories as a function of Airbus’s projected applications.

JEC Composites Magazine: Do you think that these developments can be applied to other manufacturing sectors besides aerospace?
Marie Weiss: The tools being developed are designed to be relatively simple and low-cost, and to meet the requirements of the different transportation and energy industries.

JEC Composites Magazine: The IRT Jules Verne technological research institute is central to the Wing project. What role has it played, specifically?
Marie Weiss: IRTJV coordinates and carries out the technical and organizational activity with the other partners, and negotiates the compromises required to fulfil the needs of each member. 

Madras Line - Fiber Placement

JEC Composites Magazine: Is the Institute involved in other large-scale composite “adventures”?
Marie Weiss: Composite applications constitute one of the priorities on IRTJV’s roadmap. There are a number of ongoing programmes on topics like developing a new low-cost carbon fibre, manufacturing marine-current turbine blades or structural automotive parts, and the dynamic welding of thermoplastic composites.

JEC Composites Magazine: More generally speaking, are you working to reduce the environmental impact of composites and include them in a sustainable initiative?
Marie Weiss: Different priorities are being studied as a function of the specific programme – e.g. scrap reduction, recycling, reuse, or bio-sourced carbon precursor.

As an example, IRTJV is Work Package Leader in the H2020 project named REPAIR3d. We are mainly in charge of developping strategies for composite materials to separate the fibres from the resin and reuse them in additive manufacturing processes as a second step.

More information www.irt-jules-verne.fr