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US' Hexcel to show aerospace & industrial innovations at JEC World

21 Feb '24
5 min read
Pic: Hexcel
Pic: Hexcel


  • Hexcel will showcase aerospace, automotive, marine, and industrial solutions at JEC World 2024 in Paris, including a new carbon fibre, HexTow IM9 24K, and rapid-curing prepreg, HexPly M51.
  • The company will exhibit aerospace parts, marine components, automotive technologies, and sustainability initiatives like skis made with bio-derived resins.
Hexcel will demonstrate its latest developments for the aerospace and industrial markets at JEC World 2024, which will be held from March 5-7, in Paris. At Hall 5, Stand J41, Hexcel will showcase its broad range of high-performance advanced lightweight composite material solutions for the aerospace, automotive, energy, sports and leisure and marine industries as well as its latest sustainability collaborations.

For the aerospace sector, Hexcel will launch a new HexTow continuous carbon fibre – IM9 24K – providing an alternative solution for manufacturers seeking to maximise efficiency in primary and secondary aerospace vehicle structures. HexTow IM9 24K provides high fibre performance, translating into increased composite tensile strength, as well as the increased fibre line throughput and productivity provided by a 24K tow size. HexTow IM9 24K delivers a strong value proposition when compared to other commercially available IM fibres.

Hexcel will also present its new, rapid-curing prepreg. Developed for the high-rate production of structural composite parts, HexPly M51 is designed for rapid hot-in/hot-out press curing. It has a 40-minute cure cycle at 180°C, reducing production times and costs versus standard autoclave-cured prepregs. Using HexPly M51 also reduces the need for multiple sets of tooling and labour compared with conventional prepreg systems. The prepreg is fully compatible with automated tape laying (ATL), automated fibre placement (AFP) and pick-and-place processes. It also is REACH-compliant, demonstrating a mechanical performance equivalent to other state-of-the-art 180°C cure prepregs.

Aerospace parts displayed at JEC World 2024 include a new HAICoPAS aerospace demonstrator panel manufactured using new thermoplastic and carbon fibre materials that target the low-cost assembly of structural aerospace parts. This project has involved Hexcel, Arkema, Ingecal, Coriolis Composites, Pinete Emidecau Industries, Institut de Soudure and CNRS laboratories (PIMM, LTEN). Lightweight structural UD PEKK/carbon thermoplastic composite parts were produced out of autoclave/in situ and then assembled using innovative welding technology which can then be used to replace metal parts at a higher production rate. The demonstrator panel – made in collaboration with an industrial committee including Airbus, Safran, Daher, Hutchinson and ATC – will be on display at the JEC Mobility pavilion, the company said in a press release.

In addition, Hexcel will showcase aerospace components manufactured with the latest generation of HexPly, HiTape and RTM solutions including composite engine pylon covers, a liquid hydrogen tank demonstrator and a low-noise Airbus H160 helicopter rotor blade developed using a range of Hexcel reinforcements, prepregs, adhesives and honeycomb materials.

Hexcel will highlight solutions for Marine customers and will exhibit a scale model of a 220-metre-long sail-powered cruising yacht to be created by Chantiers de l’Atlantique (CDA) for customer Accor. The masts used by the new ship for wind propulsion are manufactured using Bureau Veritas (BV) approved HexPly M9.6 prepregs, reduce reliance on engines and cut fuel usage. CDA and its consortium won a 2023 JEC Innovation Award for their work on this project.

HexPly M9.6 prepregs are also used to produce lightweight carbon fibre hydrofoil components, and Hexcel will display an AFS brand foil made by French company Foil and Co. Experts in the design and manufacture of composite products, AFS has chosen to offer 100 per cent carbon foils that are designed and manufactured entirely in France.

As part of its portfolio of composite solutions for the automotive industry, Hexcel will present its prepreg and dry fabric material technologies as well as components including a sportscar wheel made in a fully industrialised high-volume production process.

In addition, Hexcel continues to develop its offering for future energy generation applications and will showcase its latest carbon fibre and towpreg materials that enable a transition to lower environmental impact transport and electric engines.  Hexcel hot melt towpreg materials take a first step in reducing environmental footprint, focusing on performance optimization and overall reduction in composite material usage.

For sustainable solutions, Hexcel will feature a dedicated zone at its booth. On display will be Elan and Blizzard skis commercialised with HexPly Nature Range prepregs. Hexcel now offers its iconic industrial resins with abio-derived resin content, including M49 for cosmetic applications, M79 for thick structures or low-temperature cure, and M78.1 LT for fast cure. These resins offer the flexibility to be paired with natural fibre and recycled carbon fibre reinforcements, the release added.

Hexcel will also highlight a novel project that aims to improve accessibility to sport, mobility and autonomy for people with disabilities by featuring the Hopper prosthetic running blade made of discarded aerospace carbon materials. The Hopper project uses recycled Hexcel carbon fibre prepreg from Airbus facilities. Project partners Airbus, Salomon and the 3Dx lab of Dassault Systèmes worked together with Hopper to manufacture the affordable and accessible carbon fibre running blade. The Hopper blade is easy to use, enabling sports and outdoor activities again thanks to its flexible and versatile composite design.

There will also be a collection of parts donated by Fairmat that demonstrate its 2024 JEC Innovation Award nominated Closed Loop Ecosystem for Carbon Fibre. Fairmat's AI-driven, software-centric technology uses robots to create 100 per cent recycled CFRP chips using Hexcel prepreg waste. A versatile solution for diverse product applications, these innovative chips offer low weight, strength and stiffness benefits, filling the gap in the advanced materials industry and ensuring valuable carbon fibre doesn’t go to waste. Hexcel is proud to support Fairmat and its recycling programme, with almost all its European-produced carbon fibre prepreg cutoffs avoiding landfill and being processed for reuse into commercial markets. The partnership led to more than 170 tonnes of prepreg material being diverted from waste to fulfilling commercial product needs in 2023.

“We are delighted to be at JEC World 2024, presenting our latest innovations and celebrating the success our customers have with Hexcel materials,” said Thierry Merlot, Hexcel president – aerospace for Europe, MEA/AP & Industrial. "JEC provides an unparalleled platform for us to engage with industry leaders, foster strategic partnerships, and demonstrate our unwavering commitment to shaping the future of lightweight, composite material development in this dynamic and ever-evolving global marketplace.”

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (RR)

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