Saab ensures superior knowledge in the field of composites

As a further step to improve Aerostructures composite knowledge and to bring the most efficient thinking into the market, Saab initially invested and has gradually increased the focus within its department for Composites Research and Development.

The department was defined some years ago with the purpose to look into innovative design solutions, prototype methodologies, new tooling concepts and assembly ideas for the Aerostructures composites work-shop.
- It was a major step into the focus on composites and became a vital part of on-going high-rate production of the A320 Ailerons, the ramp-up of the 787 cargo doors work package, but also as integer part in the Gripen NG development and the Clean Sky development, where Saab develops an integrated wing panel in composites, says Magnus Falk, head of Business Development, Marketing and Salses at Aerostructures.

The production of the A320 Ailerons.

Image: The production of the A320 Ailerons.

Among others the department team have been involved in the;

  • Tooling concepts for the UAV NEURON’s composite panels.
  • Conceptual design and manufacturing process enhancements for the highly integrated cargo door for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
  • Conceptual design and manufacturing of composite parts for the EU-program ALCAS such as wing spar and the highly integrated sub sale wing box.
  • Conceptual design and manufacturing of the redesigned A320 Aileron integrated composite box.

Saab pushes boundaries of knowledge further

The latest development is reflecting on rapid prototyping, where Saab has identified a clear requirement in the market. As the time schedules for various aerospace projects are more compressed than ever, the need for prototypes, test pieces, test tools for making trials are of high importance for the success of the project.
- We therefore undertook a study on how to invest our resources in rapid prototyping, says Magnus Falk.
Composites tools have been in focus during the production of the NEURON fuselage. Saab is participating in the European project and will design and manufacture the central fuselage of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The production of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, NEURON.

Image: The production of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, NEURON.

- The use of composites tools for skin panels have been a success. Those tools have been seen as a very fast way from CATIA model to a real composites part and our composites team has shown only ten weeks in real lead time and another outcome have been a patent of the composite tool support structure, says Magnus Falk.
- Good results from the Manufacturing R&D Test Group are essential for Aerostructures to remain being a top player in the composite business and with rapid prototyping and the development of this dedicated research team we push the boundaries of knowledge even further, he continues