Latecoere’s Composites Development Center in Toulouse opens for operation

Latecoere announced the opening of its Composites Development Center (CDC). This center, located in Toulouse, provides the company with new resources to support the future production ramp-ups of aircraft manufacturers and will contribute towards the key challenges facing air transport in the current context of climate change.

Latecoere’s Composites Development Center in Toulouse opens for operation

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Latecoere now has a Composites Development Center (CDC) in the Montredon district of Toulouse, just a few kilometers from the Group’s head office, home to the Aerostructures design office. This proximity was a deliberate choice to simplify discussions between the design teams and those in charge of industrialization. The CDC will not only produce composite parts for R&T activities (future programs), but also plan for their automated industrialization in the Group’s factories.

The CDC, covering an area of 700m², is equipped with a layup robot, a 1000-tonne heat press, an oven for polymerizing the composites, and an adjustment/assembly workshop. Around a dozen experts in composites from the design office, industrialization and CDC teams are currently working on the implementation of this new facility.

The CDC can manufacture aeronautical structural parts of up to 3m by 2.5m, using two technologies: thermoset or thermoplastic. Examples include doors, wing or empennage components. The center provides Latecoere with a full automated production line designed for the upcoming aircraft programs, from layup to stamping, consolidation, and finally assembly. The CDC is already a unique training tool and a means of boosting the skills of employees involved in the use of composite materials.

Thierry Mootz, Chairman and CEO: “I am very proud of the efforts made in record time by the project team. The CDC is a decisive competitive lever to reinforce our leading position on the doors market. The future of carbon-free aviation requires us to question our technical and industrial methods. This is exactly what we are doing with this pioneering facility.” 

Serge Bérenger, EVP Innovation and R&T: “Latecoere has set up the best possible tool for its composites strategy for tomorrow’s inventions in Toulouse, thanks to unwavering support from the public authorities. The strategic areas of technological development at Latecoere include composites and optics, two fields that will be essential in the reduction of carbon emissions of air transport by making aircraft lighter.”

Key figures and dates for the CDC

  • Total investment: €5M
  • Project launched in spring 2021, with support from the “modernization of the car and aeronautical industries” category of the France Relance recovery plan
  • Start of work in summer 2022
  • 43 companies and tradesmen involved in the installations
  • Technical equipment:
    • Coriolis AFP (Automated Fiber Placement) robot: 8-axis layup head, dry fiber, thermoset or thermoplastic, maximum layup speed 1 m/s, camera inspection system
    • Pinette PEI heat press: 450° infra-red oven, 1,000-tonne heating press plates 2.5 x 1.5m with cooling system
    • SAT oven for composite polymerization: 400°, large volume

Photo credit: Latecoere / Arnaud Spani

More information www.latecoere.aero