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Status Of 787 Autoclaves  
User currently offlineCaptainBob From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7128 times:

Does anyone know the status of the huge autoclaves required to cure the composites for the 787? Have these ever been built before?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline757223 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7112 times:

Yes, but I do not recall any that big. Raytheon uses them for their Premier Jets.


A/C Flown: 727,737,747,757,767,777,A319/320,MD-80,DC-9,DC-10,L-1011,BAC-111,F-100,CRJ-200/700,EMB-135/140/145,SF-340
User currently offlineCaptainBob From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7094 times:

Who supplies them, and aren't they critical to the quality of the composites?

User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7055 times:

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries just recently got their autoclave at their Nagoya plant for the 787 wing manufacture. It is made by the same company in Hiroshima.

User currently offlineCaptainBob From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7038 times:

Did Mitsubishi in Hiroshima make the autoclaves for the other Boeing 787 partners too?

User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6993 times:

Quoting CaptainBob (Reply 4):
Did Mitsubishi in Hiroshima make the autoclaves for the other Boeing 787 partners too?

No...It looks like MHI built it under license from the same UK company:

http://www.allbusiness.com/periodicals/article/456646-1.html

I am pretty certain that the one I was referring to was built in Hiroshima and shipped to Nagoya. I think the article is wrong on that particular point.


User currently offlineAtmx2000 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4576 posts, RR: 38
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6933 times:

Quoting N79969 (Reply 5):
No...It looks like MHI built it under license from the same UK company:

It is actually the American subsidiary of the UK company, bought in 2002.

http://www.thermalequipment.com/

http://www.manufacturingtalk.com/news/aer/aer000.html

OT, could you imagine all the turkeys you could make in one of those autoclaves?



ConcordeBoy is a twin supremacist!! He supports quadicide!!
User currently offlineCaptainBob From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6914 times:

Quoting N79969 (Reply 5):
No...It looks like MHI built it under license from the same UK company:

http://www.allbusiness.com/periodica....html

This article says:

"Aeroform Ltd. in Poole/Dorset in the U.K. (U.S. office is Thermal Equipment Corp., Torrance, Calif.) is building what is believed to be the world's largest autoclave--30 ft diam. x 70 ft long (approx. 18,100 cu ft)--to form the fuselage of the Boeing 787 passenger plane."

70 foot can't be long enough for the 787 fuselage!


User currently offlinePoitin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6902 times:

Quoting CaptainBob (Thread starter):
Does anyone know the status of the huge autoclaves required to cure the composites for the 787? Have these ever been built before?

I beleive the A380's wings skins are heat treated in what you might call an autoclave. According the the "Discovery Channel" special on the A380, they mill the skins, removing about 80% of the metal (Aluminium/Lithium) cover them in a plastic and cook them for several hours at 302 degrees + or minus 3 degrees. Since they didn't say F or C, I have no idea which.

In any case it is far larger than what would be need by 787. Interesting show, you should see it if you can.


User currently offlineAtmx2000 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4576 posts, RR: 38
Reply 9, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6853 times:

Quoting CaptainBob (Reply 7):
70 foot can't be long enough for the 787 fuselage!

The fuselage is made in sections.



ConcordeBoy is a twin supremacist!! He supports quadicide!!
User currently offlineDl757md From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1562 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6734 times:

Quoting Poitin (Reply 8):
I beleive the A380's wings skins are heat treated in what you might call an autoclave. According the the "Discovery Channel" special on the A380, they mill the skins, removing about 80% of the metal (Aluminium/Lithium) cover them in a plastic and cook them for several hours at 302 degrees + or minus 3 degrees. Since they didn't say F or C, I have no idea which.

That doesn't qualify as an autoclave. It is merely an oven for heat treating.
An autoclave uses heat to cure the resins in the part and pressure to compress any entrapped air into smaller and therefore less detrimental voids in the matrix.

As for the temps that they heat treat aluminum, 302ºC is likely the correct choice rather than F.

DL757Md



757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
User currently offlineCaptainBob From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6714 times:

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 9):
The fuselage is made in sections.

I found that the fuselage sections are made by different partners, so each partner must need their own huge autoclave for their piece? Are these custom built or are they "off the shelf"?

It seems to me that these autoclaves must be pretty critical to the success of the composite plane.


User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 12, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6703 times:

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 10):

As for the temps that they heat treat aluminum, 302�C is likely the correct choice rather than F.

Right. 302F is not hot enough to change the material properties of aluminium. 302C is.


User currently offlineDl757md From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1562 posts, RR: 16
Reply 13, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6650 times:

Quoting CaptainBob (Reply 11):
It seems to me that these autoclaves must be pretty critical to the success of the composite plane.

The most common cause of composite failure due to manufacturing defects is delamination due to air entrapped in the part. Part of the autoclaves job is to minimize air trapped in the part by compressing it so that it takes up a much smaller volume and creates less of a problem. The other part of the autoclaves job is to heat the part on a very specific schedule to attain the maximum cure and strength of the resins.

So yes you are correct in saying that the autoclaves are pretty critical in the success of the composite plane. Not that they are absolutely necessary for all composite aircraft, many composite kit built GA aircraft are built with a wet layup process that uses no autoclave or oven for that matter. But if an autoclave was incorporated into the manufacturing of those planes they could be made much stronger and somewhat lighter using the same materials, albeit at far greater cost.

DL757Md



757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
User currently offlineCaptainBob From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6576 times:

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 12):
Right. 302F is not hot enough to change the material properties of aluminium. 302C is.

Aeroform's website says:

"Aeroform operated the Airbus A380 Wing Skin autoclave for the first time in August 2002, this was a preliminary systems check prior to fine tuning and performance testing, the autoclave performed outstandingly, straight out of the box as it were, achieving a total spatial uniformity within the 5.5M dia. x 40M length of ±1.2°C overall at 150°C (the Airbus pre commissioning requirement was ± 5°C)."

So it looks like they do consider this to be an autoclave, but 40M still isn't long enough for the 787 fuselage.


User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6543 times:

Quoting CaptainBob (Reply 14):
So it looks like they do consider this to be an autoclave, but 40M still isn't long enough for the 787 fuselage.

They are not going to bake one long piece. Rather multiple contractors will each make their fuselage (and wing) sections at different locations which will finally be assembled at Everett, Washington.


User currently offlineDl757md From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1562 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6513 times:

Quoting CaptainBob (Reply 14):
Aeroform's website says:

"Aeroform operated the Airbus A380 Wing Skin autoclave for the first time in August 2002, this was a preliminary systems check prior to fine tuning and performance testing, the autoclave performed outstandingly, straight out of the box as it were, achieving a total spatial uniformity within the 5.5M dia. x 40M length of ±1.2°C overall at 150°C (the Airbus pre commissioning requirement was ± 5°C)."

So it looks like they do consider this to be an autoclave, but 40M still isn't long enough for the 787 fuselage.

http://www.aeroform.co.uk/company.htm is the link to the site you have quoted. Further down it says Aeroform have specialised in the design and manufacture of process equipment and component development for the composite and process industries over the past decade.

The site seems somewhat ambiguous in its description of this. If the skins are aluminum then AFAIK there is no reason to autoclave them. Admittedly I'm not familiar with the exotic Aluminum/Lithium alloys employed so maybe it does need one. Since the site says they manufacture equipment for composite industries then I tend to think that the autoclave is used to manufacture a composite part especially in light of the stated temp range of 150±1.2C - more likely the temp range you would cure a composite part . I don't know. I would think that the wing skins on the A380 wouldn't fit in a 5.5M dia. autoclave but I don't know for sure. Anybody out there have intimate knowledge of the process for the A380 wing skins?

DL757Md



757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
User currently offlineCaptainBob From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6300 times:

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 16):
http://www.aeroform.co.uk/company.htm is the link to the site you have quoted. Further down it says Aeroform have specialised in the design and manufacture of process equipment and component development for the composite and process industries over the past decade.

The referenced site doesn't say anything about a connection to the other company, Thermal Corp., and Thermal's site doesn't say anything about Aeroform. That article in "All Business" must be out of date.

I'd still like to know who's supplying the autoclaves for the multiple pieces then, and whether or not these are already being used.


User currently offlineDash 80 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 309 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6111 times:

Read something in Aviation Week & Space Technology the other week about Spirit Aerosystems currently installing one of the large autoclaves at their site in Witchita to cure the section 41 of the 787. They had to do some major foundation work for that beast.

If I can find that article, I'll post a little more.

Steve



...where the rubber hits the runway...
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6094 times:

Autoclaves are nothing new, Lockheed used autoclaves to bond the fuselage skins and aft pressure bulkhead of the L-1011 starting back in the late 1960's. They are nothing more than huge ovens that can be sealed and then the air is evacuated.

User currently offlineCaptainBob From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5690 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 19):
They are nothing more than huge ovens that can be sealed and then the air is evacuated.

Autoclaves must add pressure, not take it away.


User currently offlinePoitin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 4143 times:

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 10):
That doesn't qualify as an autoclave. It is merely an oven for heat treating.
An autoclave uses heat to cure the resins in the part and pressure to compress any entrapped air into smaller and therefore less detrimental voids in the matrix.

I cannot speak to whether the A380 wing skins are heated under pressure becasue the show did not say, but the chamber was a very large cylinder and a very substantial door. It sure looked like a pressure vessel. Accord to Bennett, it was an autoclave. Here is an interesting explanation of what they are doing in Wales.

http://www.bennettmg.co.uk/News/maga...e_articles/airbus_engineering.html

I tend to agree with your statement that is was 302° C as it is an European aircraft.


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