Hexcel Corporation will mark its 75th anniversary by showcasing its latest developments for the aerospace and industrial markets at JEC World 2023, Paris on April 25-27. At Hall 5 - J41, Hexcel will showcase its broad range of high-performance advanced lightweight composite material solutions for the aerospace, automotive, energy, sports and leisure, and marine industries as well as display its latest product innovations.
For the Aerospace sector, Hexcel will highlight a new, rapid-curing prepreg, developed for the high-rate production of semi-structural composite parts. HexPly® M51 is designed for rapid hot-in/hot-out press curing and has a 40-minute cure cycle at 180˚C, reducing production times and costs compared with the use of standard autoclave-cured prepregs. Using HexPly M51 also reduces the need for multiple sets of tooling and labor compared with conventional prepreg systems. The prepreg is fully compatible with automated tape laying (ATL), automated fiber placement (AFP) and pick-and-place processes, is REACH-compliant and demonstrates mechanical performance equivalent to other state-of-the-art 180°C cure prepregs.
Alongside this new product launch, Hexcel will also display a new demonstrator of an aircraft passenger door beam manufactured using a high-pressure resin-transfer molding (HP-RTM) process, suitable for the high-rate manufacture of small-to-medium-sized parts. A dry carbon-fiber fabric preform is loaded into the 180˚C mold and is then injected with Hexcel’s latest generation resin HiFlow® HF610F-2. With a total molding time of 30 minutes, the process is more efficient by at least four times when compared to standard prepreg processes. Cleaning also is reduced to its minimum since there is no need to clean the mix head and no ancillaries are used. The scrap rate also is very low since the resin and curative are kept separately. Resins and reinforcements also do not need to be stored in freezers, minimizing storage costs.
For the Marine market, Hexcel will exhibit a section of a Solid Sail mast made by Chantiers de l’Atlantique (CDA). Such masts are used for wind propulsion and, by harnessing the power of ocean winds, they reduce reliance on engines and cut fuel usage. The mast section is 2m x 1.6m x 1m in size and is made from carbon fiber laminates that are 40 mm in thickness. Other sections of the mast, manufactured using Bureau Veritas (BV)-approved HexPly® M9.6 prepregs, are up to 70mm in thickness. CDA and its consortium won a 2023 JEC Innovation Award for their work on this project.
Also for Marine, Hexcel will display a section of a radar arch part from luxury motor yacht builder Sunseeker made using HexPly® XF surfacing technology and HexPly® SuperFIT semi-pregs. The part is lighter in weight and stiffer than versions made using resin-infusion processes and de-molds with a pinhole-free surface that needs minimal preparation to be ready for paint. Sunseeker has recorded an overall reduction in process time and material costs of around 30% against traditional prepreg parts, using Hexcel advanced composite materials.
Hexcel innovations for Wind Energy on show will include HexPly XF surfacing technology as well as the Polyspeed® range of pultruded laminates. HexPly XF lowers costs for blade manufacturers, providing a hard-wearing paint-ready surface directly from the mold, reducing finishing time and producing a lighter and more consistent surface than traditional gelcoats. Polyspeed materials are fiber-reinforced epoxy resin laminates that are supplied fully cured and in roll format. Options include grid-type products for optimized resin flow as well as unidirectional carbon fiber materials that provide consistently high mechanical properties for load-carrying elements of the blade.
As part of its portfolio of composite solutions for the Automotive industry, Hexcel also will present its prepreg and dry fabric material technologies as well as components including a sportscar wheel made in a fully industrialized high-volume production process.
For sustainable solutions, Hexcel will again feature a dedicated zone on its stand to showcase its latest development in sustainability. On display will be the HexPly® Nature Range™ of prepreg materials, as well as an update on the prepreg waste recycling technology developed in partnership with Fairmat that was recently recognized with a Sustainability Award by Airbus Defence & Space.
Hexcel also will exhibit a detailed life-cycle analysis for a HexPly XF laminate section of a wind turbine blade shell. The laminate highlights that the XF infusion material can achieve 2.7 times greater coverage of high-quality, paint-ready surface finish, confirming its lower CO2 footprint versus traditional gelcoat.
Hexcel continues to develop its carbon fiber offering for future energy applications and is working to reduce overall hydrogen storage tank costs and improve performance by optimizing fiber usage and resin chemistry. With the investment and commissioning of a new towpreg line for high-pressure vessels in 2023, Hexcel underlines its strong commitment to this future technology.
“We are delighted to be celebrating our 75th anniversary with such a varied range of product launches and exhibits at JEC World 2023," said Thierry Merlot, Hexcel President – Aerospace for Europe, MEA/AP & Industrial. "Hexcel has been synonymous with innovation throughout its history. Our company remains a leader in delivering innovative advanced composite solutions to our customers, and we look forward to the next 75 years of continuing to create lightweight solutions that help create a better world for us all.”
Hexcel Corporation is a global leader in advanced lightweight composites technology. We propel the future of flight, energy generation, transportation, and recreation through excellence in providing innovative high-performance material solutions that are lighter, stronger and tougher, helping to create a better world for us all. Our broad and unrivaled product range includes carbon fiber, specialty reinforcements, prepregs and other fiber-reinforced matrix materials, honeycomb, resins, engineered core and composite structures for use in commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial applications.
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