The recently launched UK-based project called ASCEND (Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development) will focus on developing high-rate manufacturing and processing technologies that will accelerate the development of new, lightweight advanced composite materials.
The composites company Hexcel Corp., Stamford, CT/USA, will join lead partner GKN Aerospace, London/UK, and 13 other project stakeholders in a collaboration across the UK supply chain to develop the technologies and automation equipment required to manufacture lightweight, more fuel-efficient structures for sustainable air mobility, aerospace, and automotive industries.
Hexcel will contribute to the ASCEND project framework, developing a new HexPly fast cure prepreg system that will significantly reduce component processing times compared to existing aerospace prepregs. Furthermore, its range of Liquid Composite Molding (LCM) products will be incorporated into the ASCEND project work packages. The project will use both HiTape advanced unidirectional dry carbon reinforcements and HiMax multiaxial non-crimp fabrics reinforcements.
The ASCEND project will allow Hexcel to collaborate with Tier 1 companies, engineers, tooling specialists, and production equipment OEMs to deliver both prepreg and LCM solutions that meet both the performance targets and satisfy the processing requirements for high-rate automated manufacture. The technical integration will ensure a complete understanding of customer performance and processing needs, coupled with the opportunity to industrialize new technologies utilizing the extensive capabilities of GKN’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol/UK.