On April 22nd, Hexcel was awarded a special prize at a ceremony organized by Safran to acknowledge the latest inventions by employees and their suppliers.
Hexcel was honoured with the Special Jury Prize - awarded in conjunction with the magazine L’Usine Nouvelle - in recognition of the FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) bracket made from Hexcel’s HexMC® technology, developed in partnership with Safran Composites.
The HexMC® bracket, developed for Snecma’s LEAP engine, represents a 75% weight reduction compared to its metal equivalent and pioneers a new way of using composite materials in aerospace. The brackets that attach the FADEC to the engine’s fan casing are critical as they are subjected to considerable vibratory and thermal loads in service.
The bracket is manufactured by compression moulding of HexMC®. “We cut carbon fibre prepreg tape into 50 mm long x 8 mm wide strips”, explains Jean-François Veauville, Hexcel’s Aerospace Sales Manager. “And arrange them randomly to give the part quasi-isotropy, which means that the mechanical resistance is virtually the same in all directions. This is impossible to achieve with traditional methods of using prepreg, such as draping and weaving.
”Of course such a radical change in technology does not happen overnight. HexMC® material has several advantages, but it is best exploited with proper engineering and manufacturing practices. This is why engineers from Safran Composites and Hexcel’s Applications Technology team worked together for two years on the development of these engine brackets.”
HexMC® technology can be used to make high performance composite parts with complex shapes and also produce them in volume. This innovation could be used on many other applications, especially on nacelles and landing gear.