TenCate Signs Up for Collaborations with Airbus and Fokker at Paris Air Show

Today at the Paris Air Show in France the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, is signing a letter of intent (LOI) for the proposed extension of the Thermoplastic Affordable Primary Aircraft Structure consortium (TAPAS), in which eight Dutch companies and institutes from the aviation industry, including TenCate Advanced Composites, have been working with Airbus on groundbreaking technological innovations for aviation since 2009.

An innovative fuselage panel for Airbus, which is made of thermoplastic composite from TenCate Advanced Composites and produced by Airbus, Fokker Aerostructures and other TAPAS partners, is also being unveiled at the Paris Air Show.

The companies and institutes forming the TAPAS consortium work closely with Airbus in the field of design and material, production and assembly technologies, supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs among others. Under the leadership of Airbus, the partners recently produced a demonstration model of a fuselage panel for passenger aircraft.

The technological process was characterized by press forming, welding and co-consolidating the thermoplastic composite into a double-curved fuselage panel, including welded omega stringers and butt-jointed T-stringers. It is the first time that such a large-scale fuselage panel has been made of thermoplastic composite. Thanks to its unique properties - such as high stiffness, fire safety and excellent processability - this advanced material is a prime contender for selection as the material for the entire fuselage of future aircraft.

The LOI to be signed by Minister Kamp aims to extend the existing research agreement of the TAPAS consortium and focuses on the continuing development of thermoplastic composites for wing and tail applications, for support structures for engines, and for fuselages.

TAPAS 2 will be the successor of TAPAS 1, which was initiated in 2009 with the aim of expanding the development of thermoplastic composites for Airbus aircraft design and bringing these materials to a higher technology readiness level.

Also at the Paris Air Show, TenCate and Fokker Aerostructures today sign a long-term agreement to provide thermoplastic composite materials of TenCate for the construction of several aircraft components by Fokker Aerostructures for the international aerospace industry.

The agreement covers the supply of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic laminates and a range of semipreg composite materials that are used in commercial, regional and military aircraft built by OEM's like Airbus, Boeing, Gulfstream,  Dassault and AgustaWestland. Advantages of the application of these light-weight composites are, among others, the saving of kerosene, and the ability to produce large volumes in series.

This long-term supply agreement is an important step forward for the close cooperation between TenCate Advanced Composites and Fokker Aerostructures. Frank Meurs, group director of TenCate Advanced Composites, explains: 'The new agreement emphasizes the success of our advanced thermoplastic composites in general, and in particular of our productive relationship with Fokker within the innovative Dutch aerospace industry. This agreement also underlines the continuation of our close partnership since the early 1990s for the supply of thermoplastic composite materials, designed for the part production of Fokker Aerostructures for the international aerospace industry.'

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