FACC completes new landing flap for Airbus Wing of Tomorrow project

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Engineers at Austrian aerospace company FACC have completed part of Airbus’ Wing of Tomorrow research project with the development of a new landing flap that is cheaper and easier to manufacture.

The Wing of Tomorrow R&D program, which launched in 2018 and also involves GKN and Spirit AeroSystems, aims to develop future wing technologies and ready them for series production.

FACC is working on the development of  manufacturing processes for three wing components: the wing box lower cover, the flap and the spoiler and Droop Panel. The aim is to produce these complex components faster, easier and more cost-effectively.

Engineers at FACC successfully completed the first sub-project, the cladding of the wing box, last year. The prototype of a landing flap was recently completed in the second sub-project. Both projects used a  resin transfer molding process that has been used in previous projects, but at a larger scale and higher level of complexity.

When developing the five-meter-long “Multicell Flap”, the focus was on exploring the technical possibilities. Patrick Petz, FACC’s lead program engineer for Aerostructures Airbus said, “Airbus is striving for a high degree of integration with the new generation of wings in order to reduce subsequent work steps as far as possible and accordingly become more cost-effective,

“For us, the integral construction means that we can save ourselves the high installation effort afterwards and thus achieve a high degree of maturity of the manufacturing processes and high rates.”

Apart from the new type of construction and the use of new materials – so-called multiaxial fabrics – the tool design during production was also innovative. A multifunctional team from R&D, toolmaking and program management has been taking on the task for about a year and was able to present the first component to the customer Airbus recently.

Robert Machtlinger, CEO of FACC AG said, “This is a real milestone in the research cooperation with Airbus. Together we have developed a completely new landing flap system. The wing component is highly integral – thanks to well thought-out solutions in terms of material, process and construction, we can offer Airbus affordable lightweight construction with a high level of suitability for series production.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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