Hexcel Corp. and Arkema SA are bolstering their strategic alliance with the setting up of a joint research & development laboratory in Les Avenières, France, next month.
The two materials companies announced their alliance to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector in March last year.
The partnership combines Hexcel's expertise in carbon fibre with that of Arkema in PEKK.
The new lab will focus on the development of carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic prepreg tapes designed for lightweight parts for future generations of aircraft.
In addition to lightweighting, the solutions are to provide cost effective technologies including faster production cycles for customers in the aerospace and the space and defence sectors.
An initial industrial pilot line will be installed in the new lab “in the coming weeks”, the two companies announced 12 March.
The lab is expected to start supplying carbon/thermoplastic UD tapes from the pilot line for customer evaluation in the third quarter of 2019.