Europe’s Flight Path 2050 sets targets to improve environmental performance of the aerospace industries. Massive introduction of thermoset composites in the latest aircrafts (e.g. 16,000 tons per year for both A350 and B787) has reduced significantly weight and emissions but the question of recyclability of composites remains unsolved. Therefore, for the next aircraft generation, thermoplastic composites are the solution but manufacturing technologies for this material are not yet fully available today. Additionally, the 2020 crisis puts a dramatic emphasis on the European aerospace industry to strengthen its technological leadership and address carbon footprint reduction and manufacturing cost-efficiency.
In this context, AEROTAPE will improve future aircraft design, production, joining and recycling with high performance aerospace thermoplastic tapes which allows to manufacture and thermo-stamp net-shape optimized blanks providing, not only better recyclability, but also further reduction of weight and material consumption with cost efficiency and short cycle times. Thermoplastic tapes laying has been developed in aerospace but with single head low productivity machines. For automotive, a novel high productivity approach based on fast multiple laying heads has been developed and is going to be adapted in AEROTAPE for small- medium size aeronautic applications with aerospace grade tape materials, that need high processing temperatures, and with tight aerospace laying tolerances. Aernnova and Tecnalia will develop these advanced process solutions at laboratory and prototype part level while FILL will implement this at industrial plant equipment level based on the corresponding specific automated cells for the different process steps.