Swedish research for future composite structures

Saab is leading a Swedish demonstrator project that is aimed at developing future composite structures for civil aircraft. The project, called GF Demo, will result in two demonstrators – part of a wing box and part of a cargo door.

Participants of the GF Demo research project study the cargo door of Boeing 787 during the GF Demo launch at Saab in the end of September.

The research project, which is being partly financed by the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, VINNOVA, will be focusing on developing lightweight composite structures that can help to reduce fuel consumption and therefore lower the environmental impact of the next generation of commercial aircraft.

"Participation in a demonstrator project like GF Demo is important for enabling us to position ourselves a a natural partner for the next generation of commercial aircraft. One of the prerequisites for future business is to be able to demonstrate our own unique skills in certain key areas, such as integrated structural and system solutions, at the lowest possible weight and with a competitive manufacturing process," says Katarina Björklund, who is Research & Technology Development Manager at Aeronautics.

Participants of the GF Demo research project study the Clean Sky panel at Saab.

The door unit will be demonstrated with a focus on integrated composites with associated manufacturing techniques. It will have electromechanical actuators for opening, closing and locking instead of hydraulics. This will also help to reduce the weight and cost.

The door unit and wing box will both be manufactured using modern automated processes in order to satisfy future requirements on large production runs. This requires new innovative tool technology and new techniques for non-destructive testing.

"The GF Demo project gives us the opportunity to draw experience from what we learned from the Boeing 787 project and in the Clean Sky project and develop this further for demonstration in two demonstrators. It is also very exciting to have the opportunity to work with the leading experts within composites and structural engineering in Sweden," says Anders Hägg, Project Manager for GF Demo at Saab.

"This is a fascinating project and we have some exciting years ahead of us," says Anders Hägg, Project Manager for GF Demo at Saab.


  • The research project has a total budget of approximately SEK 82 million, with roughly half of that being funded by Vinnova.
  • The project will last for three and a half years.
  • The project participants are Saab, Biteam, Elitkomposit, Novator, CREO, Exova, Sicomp, Compraser, KTH and Linköping University.
  • Areas that GF Demo will focus on include: integrated composite structures, electromechanical actuators, non-destructive testing, as well as competitive development and manufacturing processes.
  • VINNOVA is the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems. Its mission is to promote sustainable growth by improving the conditions for innovations, as well as funding needs-driven research. Every year VINNOVA invests about SEK 2 billion in various initiatives.