By Nick Gilbert
ITT Exelis has opened its composite design and production center in Salt Lake City, Utah, expanding capacity and improving automation capability for sophisticated military and commercial composite aircraft structures.
Airframers have been increasingly utilizing composite structures as an ideal replacement for metal structural parts on military and commercial aircrafts and on unmanned aerial vehicles. These structures increase value by reducing an aircraft’s overall weight and fuel usage and improving its resilience to in-flight stress and environmental conditions.
With this new facility, ITT Exelis is now capable of fulfilling the growing demand for composites. The expansion is in line with the company’s strategy to make strategic investments in broad-based commercial and government solutions like aerostructures and air traffic management. Through the addition of 250,000 sq. ft. to its Salt Lake City footprint and roping in 100 workers during the past year, the company is taking the necessary measures to fulfill the demand from commercial and military customers.
The Exelis Electronic Systems Integrated Structures business’ Vice President and General Manager, Jim Barber stated that the new facility improves the company’s strengths and capabilities as it make investments in advanced technologies to fulfill the requirements of its customers and the aerospace industry. The integration of automated fiber placement and tape laying capability to the high speed machining, assembly and inspection capabilities enables the company to more efficiently offer optimal composite solutions.
ITT Exelis has over four decades of experience in the design and production of composite structures and assemblies in Utah. Besides manufacturing components for military applications, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the CH-53K, the Marine Corps’ heavy lift helicopter, the company supplies engines to GE for a myriad of vacuum and aircraft tanks for numerous Boeing 7-series jets.