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Carbon Fiber And The 787  
User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 2 months 21 hours ago) and read 3508 times:

With all of the talk of planes having issues there is one additional problem. With the ramp up of the A380, F-22, and the JSF and B787 (along with Body armor and helmets) rolling into a significant phase of preproduction there is a major worldwide shortage of Carbon Fiber.

It has been really interesting for me to listen to all the pilots for the last few months. I work making diamond tooling for Boeing, Vought, Lockheed, Airbus, Bel Helicopter, Spirit, and others. The massive ramp up in production is straining the market to its limits.

If you wanted to ...2 years ago you could buy carbon fiber sheets and make your own projects at home. That is nearly impossible now. No one has it in stock. And they are just 'playing' with the materials for the 787 and JSF. They are trying to lock suppliers into long range contracts. Other projects like the A380 that came in overweight are trying to replace some initial parts that were aluminum with carbon fiber to save wieght.

I hope that the 787 would be able to increase production. A company in Japan is providing the 30 metric tons per aircraft i am unsure about what a A380 uses but some tell me it is just short of that. Of course if airbus slows down for 1-2 years there will be some extra floating around for Boeing to buy if they need it.

I wonder if this is the only big glitch on the horizon. They spoke with us about the concern about supply of tooling. We are preparing to be strained for the short run initial orders...let alone doubling of regular production.
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19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDl757md From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1562 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 21 hours ago) and read 3505 times:

That's an interesting point that I've never considered. Is the bottleneck in production capacity or the availability of raw materials? If it's in production capacity how long would it take to create additional facilities to alleviate the problem? Also, can anybody explain in layman's terms the production process from raw material to carbon fiber fabric.

DL757Md



757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 21 hours ago) and read 3499 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR




Quoting Firennice (Thread starter):
A company in Japan is providing the 30 metric tons per aircraft i am unsure about what a A380 uses but some tell me it is just short of that.

Welcome to the forum, Firennice!

...From http://forward.msci.org/articles/0805gaining.cfm:

In particular, growth in the use of composites has been dramatic. Three decades ago composites made up just 5% of the 747 and 737 aircrafts' content.

By contrast, composites make up 17% of the Airbus A320. Composite content in the Airbus A380 will total more than 20%, says Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar, president and CEO of the consulting firm E-Composites Inc.

Compare that to the upcoming Boeing 787s, whose composite content could be as high as 60%, says the Teal Group's Aboulafia.





2H4





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User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 21 hours ago) and read 3498 times:

They take a polymer that seems complex to manufacture to me but I am not a chemical engineer.

They Oxydize it by heating it to 300 degrees in oxygen.
They Carbonize it by heating it to 3000 degrees
Surface treat it to handle chemicals
Then 'size' it to handle the epoxys

It is fairly intensive and pricey. The epoxies are rather straightforward. The winding machines can be very difficult for the barrels though.

Toho in Japan will be supplying for Boeing and is building a plant to handle 2700 tons per year. but it wont start untill 2008. Even then that is 90 planes. One is being built for airbus for 1700 tons per year I have hear they use 25 tons per plane (though I am unsure on that) That plant would easily handle their needs.

I know people are scrambling more supplies will be used by the JSF F-35 they are looking at 1200 or more of those planes and the F-22 us using a lot. No one had planned on not having global capacity for those.

Not to mention...ski's, tent poles, Snowboards, automobiles, more and more and more. I have heard prices have skyrocketed in the last few years. Toho may feel ripped off when they look at what they locked in at supplying Boing for set prices, when they could make more selling it on the open market because of a shortage. Boeing may need to pay a premium if there is any extra capacity.

But to jump from 90 to 200 planes a year...that is a lot of composites.

  

[Edited 2006-07-01 20:24:59]

User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 21 hours ago) and read 3496 times:

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 2):
Welcome to the forum, Firennice!

Thanks I have been lurking reading for some time. Working with the manufacturers is one thing but listening to you in the industry is another. You talk about amny things that I never hear or consider a lot of times.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 2):
Compare that to the upcoming Boeing 787s, whose composite content could be as high as 60%, says the Teal Group's Aboulafia.

It has ended up at 50% by weight and 80% by volume if i remember my numbers.

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User currently offlineCymro From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 17 hours ago) and read 3454 times:

Quoting Firennice (Thread starter):
With all of the talk of planes having issues there is one additional problem. With the ramp up of the A380, F-22, and the JSF and B787 (along with Body armor and helmets) rolling into a significant phase of preproduction there is a major worldwide shortage of Carbon Fiber.

I would hope that major companies like Airbus and Boeing would looked into the supply chains ability to supply the material before staking so much on using it!.

IMO the 787 will use alot less carbon fibre than first thought so maybe this could offset the supply chain problems.


User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 17 hours ago) and read 3450 times:

Quoting Cymro (Reply 5):
I would hope that major companies like Airbus and Boeing would looked into the supply chains ability to supply the material before staking so much on using it!.

I have been told by our customers there has just been an ussumption by most that the supplies would be there. Boeing and Airbus fought for new facilities, and to increase supplies for themselves...but if B787 wants to double production?

And the F-22 and F-35 and other military programs are loath to lock into a long term deal if the government wont lock them into a deal for X amount of planes/helicopters. Thats one of the reasons those military planes are skyrocketing. (one of many). Add to that that every sporting goods/automotive company wants the next carbon fiber toy and you run into a problem.
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User currently offlineCymro From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 17 hours ago) and read 3446 times:

Quoting Firennice (Reply 6):
but if B787 wants to double production?

But the 787 has been selling like mad for quite a while now surely boeing would have seen the carbon fibre requirements well in advance!!!!.

Would it be worth while boeing setting up a company to manufacture carbon fibre just for them considering there requirements?.

[Edited 2006-07-02 00:33:12]

User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 16 hours ago) and read 3433 times:

Quoting Cymro (Reply 7):
But the 787 has been selling like mad for quite a while now surely boeing would have seen the carbon fibre requirements well in advance!!!!.

Would it be worth while boeing setting up a company to manufacture carbon fibre just for them considering there requirements?.

There is a shortage of carbon fiber fabrics now. If you check the internet no one has any and disclaimers that say "we will let you know if we get some". They even have articles trying to push people from carbon fiber to fiberglass where possible because the shortage shows no signs of improving.

Toho Inc in Japan has the quote to supply them. To be able to they are devoting some of their plant to producing some now, but that is only a miniscule amount of what will be needed at 12 planes per month. They are building a new plant to produce 2700 tons per year. The current estimates are 30 tons per plane.

At 8 planes per month that is 2880 tons. That does not include testing, or scrapped parts. Boeing no doubt locked up what they needed for 12 planes a month plus testing and scrap, because that is what they planned. The problem is the increase they want of 6 planes a month.

2180 tons per year that is nearly what they will need without scrap or problems. If toho had to build a new plant to supply Boing with the additional 2800 tons for regular production someone better get on the ball and get another one rolling or they will never hit their goals

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User currently offlineCymro From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 16 hours ago) and read 3428 times:

Quoting Firennice (Reply 8):
2180 tons per year that is nearly what they will need without scrap or problems. If toho had to build a new plant to supply Boing with the additional 2800 tons for regular production someone better get on the ball and get another one rolling or they will never hit their goals

So if boeing wants a build of 18 per month I would think this to match promises to customers this maybe a future problem for there deliveries. Could they end up in a 380 type problem where they are delivering late to customers due to a parts shortage?


User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 16 hours ago) and read 3422 times:

Quoting Cymro (Reply 9):
So if boeing wants a build of 18 per month I would think this to match promises to customers this maybe a future problem for there deliveries. Could they end up in a 380 type problem where they are delivering late to customers due to a parts shortage?

That is what it looks like.

From a paper I have from the Composite Industry global demand is about 25,000 tons. By 2010 they expect global demand to be 40,000 tons. That does include aircraft. So in 4 years you will see a huge increase in demand.

I missspoke earlier Toray is providing Boeing. They hope to increase wordwide production (for all purposes) by 4500 tons. Toho is providing Airbus they plan to increase production by 2000 tons (with the german plant they are building). I beleive much of the Toray production is contracted by other companies. They spend 250 million to expand their plant.

But like all companies this size it takes a few years to get them going, staffed and production started.

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User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 15 hours ago) and read 3413 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR




Quoting Firennice (Reply 10):
From a paper I have from the Composite Industry global demand is about 25,000 tons. By 2010 they expect global demand to be 40,000 tons.

Any chance you could either post or email me that paper? I'd like to see it.




2H4





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User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 13 hours ago) and read 3396 times:

Here is the report its from for $3950 it can be yours as well

http://www.giiexpress.com/products/go9511

lol

my boss would skin me alive for sending copies of any of it. I only have a handfull of pages. the info must be somewhere else I will do a search and post them as I find them


User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 13 hours ago) and read 3392 times:

Here is a presentation on the industry and its outlook

http://dcp.sric.sri.com/SRIC/Public/...ewsEventsArt/CarfibOct05Hajduk.pdf

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User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 13 hours ago) and read 3381 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR




Quoting Firennice (Reply 13):
Here is a presentation on the industry and its outlook

Thanks for the link, Firennice. Very interesting, indeed.




2H4





Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31679 posts, RR: 56
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 7 hours ago) and read 3339 times:

Quoting Firennice (Thread starter):
I work making diamond tooling for Boeing, Vought, Lockheed, Airbus, Bel Helicopter, Spirit, and others.

How Expensive would the Tooling be.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineTexfly101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3286 times:

The whole process from the making of the TOW, the carbon fibre thread, to the layup and injection of the polymer matrix, what holds the thread in place, and then the curing of the whole composite is very demanding, with tolerances in the 10,000ths of an inch. This requires an an incredibly complex process of manufacturing, tooling, quality checks, etc. Just the machinery alone to do this is a specialized, years long lead time item. So to say that you want to ramp up and double your production means that you usually are looking at years of planning, orders, incredibly expensive capital expenditures, and all that on the promise that the market will be there in 5 years when you finally get to sell some product. So its a chicken and egg problem. Boeing has to put forth a proposal saying that they forecast a need for X amount of composite. The company, Hexcel or Toray for example, then says that they can do that if Boeing is willing to commit to Y tons of composite. Boeing then looks at whether its is a good buy for them or do they stay at current production rates (the A350 failure hasn't helped push them to higher rates). And then they come back to the supplier and say that they will will buy so many tons at so much a price. Now the balls in the suppliers court...this is a very simplistic view, but not too far off what it takes to get things like this done. Right now, Boeing is ripping 777 manufacturing tooling out of a building that the 787 line is going to occupy. It was never used, all the millions that went into it never recouped, the business case for the installation of that equipment never panned out. Thats the reality of this business. Its a Las Vegas crap shoot at times, but it does pay off. Go back in the 2000 time frame and read the threads about which business model was correct, the A380 or the Sonic Cruiser. While the Sonic Cruiser never got built, the business case that it was the subject of has turned out to be the one that the airline industry is supporting with their orders. So now we'll see what the suppliers and Boeing come up with for the future of the composites industries. Just the choice of the 787 has meant that the industry as a whole will become very composite oriented. O&M will have to embrace it. Airlines will have to staff for it. Sub suppliers will bring it into their products like attachment angles, support ribs, etc as aluminum and CRFP have corrosion problems due to electrolysis of the dissimiliar materials. The launch industry is planning on making their rocket barrels out of composites. Everyone is jumping on the composites game. This is kind of like what happened in the turn of the century when the electric industry had to choose between DC and AC as the basis for distribution. That result is written in the history books. Our grandkids will read about this as well.

User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3252 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 15):
Quoting Firennice (Thread starter):
I work making diamond tooling for Boeing, Vought, Lockheed, Airbus, Bel Helicopter, Spirit, and others.

How Expensive would the Tooling be.
regds
MEL

The company I work for manufactures diamond tipped cutting tools for milling drilling and Countersinking carbon fiber, carbon fiber/aluminum, and carbon fiber/titanium stackups. Other projects have been rather minor. 100-150 tools per month between $300-550 per tool, thats the total we have dealt with other Boeing projects combined. The 777 matches that in monthly usage. And the 787 is planning to use at least 100 per day between Japan, Italy, Vought, Spirit, it pushes the limits of our 3 factories. The Joint strik fighter is supposed to be about 1/3 of Boeings 787 usage when it is up and going. That does not count carbide tooling that I know one of our factories had a 10,000 piece order from one facility alone. We are looking at dumping much of our automotive business because our focus has allways been aerospace.

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User currently offlineMechEngineer From Germany, joined Jun 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3169 times:

It gets worse. When I last visited a large composite aircraft parts supplier in Austria, they told me with a smile that the automobile industry has begun grilling them about the possible use of carbon fibre in their designs.

Just imagine what happens to the market if only a few percent of the millions of cars manufactured worldwide every year (e.g. the gearbox) is designed in carbon fibre...



Heavier-than-air flying machines...
User currently offlineFirennice From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3168 times:

Quoting MechEngineer (Reply 18):
It gets worse. When I last visited a large composite aircraft parts supplier in Austria, they told me with a smile that the automobile industry has begun grilling them about the possible use of carbon fibre in their designs.

Hawker de Havelland?

Normally the prices on new materials like this hold steady or drop. Yet prices keep rising with more and more demand it is only going to get worse.

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