Advanced composite aero structures manufacturing company Strata Manufacturing has successfully delivered 100 shipsets of assembled A350-900 Inboard Flaps (IBF) for Airbus.
Airbus selected UAE-based Strata as supplier of the IBF for the A350-900 during the 50th edition of the Farnborough Airshow in 2016. The UAE-based company now assumes fabrication and assembly duties in partnership with the aircraft manufacturer. Strata has now completed the full First Article Inspection for the fabrication of six IBF components at its facility in the Nibras Al Ain Aerospace Park.
To fully-automate the IBF manufacturing process, Strata will utilise Hot Drape Forming (HDF) and computer-controlled robotic Automated Tape Layup (ATL) machines, which gained First Part Qualification and First Article Inspection design and quality verifications early this year.
Constant expansion of technical manufacturing capabilities
Ismail Ali Abdulla, CEO of Strata, said: “Strata is constantly looking to expand its technical manufacturing capabilities by investing in cutting-edge technologies and nurturing its employee’s abilities.”
“This ensures better efficiencies and quality across our production lines and empowers us to advance within a highly-competitive global aerospace sector. In addition, we have successfully moved from assembling to fabricating IBF components. This is a testament of our capabilities and focus to elevate our status as a sole supplier alongside with Airbus of the wing part. Strata has also delivered 100 shipsets of the IBF assembled flaps to Airbus, such achievement is consistent with our focus on growing customers’ confidence in Strata’s capability to continuously deliver high-quality components in challenging timeframes and strengthens our position in the global aerospace industry.”
He added: “As we continue growing as a company, investments in exploring and developing innovative technology that facilitates speed, precision and accuracy across our manufacturing process, such as the ATL and HDF machines, is essential. By strengthening our automated manufacturing capabilities, we aim to reinforce our ‘Made with Pride in the UAE’ seal of quality assurance and maintain our decade-long tradition of delivering on commitments and obligations to Airbus and other global OEM partners.”
Light composite materials lower environmental impact
As part of the manufacturing process, Strata’s HDF machine pre-forms carbon fibre components for aircraft parts and enables faster production of high-quality composite parts. Its infrared radiation heating system quickly and evenly softens carbon fibre, delivering accurate parts free from stress-wrinkling. Strata’s two ATL machines lay unidirectional prepreg materials onto a flatbed before being transferred to a mould for further processing. Its work envelope of 2.5 metres by 10 metres enables automated processing of large composite layups and eliminates the need for a separate ultrasonic cutting machine and drastically reduces processing times.
To help reduce fuel consumption and operating costs, improve passenger comfort and lower the environmental impact of air travel, 53 per cent of the A350-900 is built using light composite materials. Designed to increase the total lift capability of the wing of an aircraft, an IBF is mounted on the trailing edge of the wing to increase the wing’s surface during take-off and landing and improve stability during flight.
Strata supports the development of a leading aerospace hub in Abu Dhabi as part of the emirate’s economic diversification initiatives, and works with leading OEMs including Airbus, Boeing, Leonardo and Pilatus. The company is wholly-owned by Mubadala Investment Company PJSC.