In the manufacturing of complex fuel housings for the global aircraft industry, cost savings of more than 30% and weight savings of up to 50% can be achieved as opposed to existing metal designs.
The efficient production, including part consolidation, is the result of Egmond Plastic BV, the injection moulding specialist, combining their own Fusible-Core Technology with a high-performance polymer solution provided by Victrex. Carbon-fibre grades of VICTREX PEEK polymer eliminate the use of a separate bearing, for example, since this is now integrated into the overall design of the housing.
Fuel housings for aerospace applications have very complex inner geometries which are not mouldable using conventional injection-moulding technology.
Egmond Plastic's Fusible-Core Technology enables mouldings of complex hollow housings, manifolds and pipes.
Richard Brandwijk, Managing Director at Egmond Plastic BV, explains: "Our Fusible-Core Technology, in combination with carbon-fibre reinforced VICTREX PEEK polymer, delivers numerous benefits. These include cost reduction, enhanced manufacturing speed, and, in addition, weight reduction leading to improved fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. Along with part consolidation, this exceptional technology and material combination enables the design of very complex parts, beyond the capabilities of standard injection-moulding and metal processes."
Utilising a near net-shape manufacturing process for the fusible core allows for an 80% time saving versus machined parts. Secondary treatments for corrosion protection, such as anodising, can be eliminated. Lead times can be reduced by 50%. These factors collectively result in part cost savings of more than 30% versus metal equivalents.
“The global aerospace industry stands to gain enormously by persistently replacing metals in key applications, in which Egmond has demonstrated tremendous leadership,” said Uwe Marburger, Aerospace Business Development Manager at Victrex.
Previously, the end-user had generally specified aluminium for the production of fuel containing parts, but a PEEK carbon-fibre reinforced polymer demonstrates superior fatigue performance, compared to aluminium. It does this while meeting all the engineering requirements for this application, including stiffness, effective flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) performance, and resistance to aggressive chemicals, including notably, for this aerospace application, resistance to jet fuel and Skydrol hydraulic fluid. Parts can range in size all the way up to 30cm x 30cm x 40cm, and typically the process is used for production runs of up to 2,000 parts.