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The uniaxial braiding process has already received industry recogniition in the form of the 2010 JEC Innovation Award for Automation.
More integration in 'one-shot' processes
In a separate project, EADS Innovation Works is also working with Airbus, Eurocopter and Premium Aerotech to advance composite aircraft production by fabricating a complex fuselage barrel section – complete with its integrated stringers, local reinforcements and window frames – in a single production step. This is also known as a 'one-shot' process, using the EADS-patented Vacuum Assisted Process (VAP®).
This project, called NEXICOS (Next Generation of Integrated Composite Aerospace Structure), was created to demonstrate the merits of such an integrated approach for use with future aircraft and helicopters in applying the VAP® technology, which consists of injecting resin in dry fibre preforms. The robustness of this technology results in fuselage components that would be less expensive to manufacture, easier to produce, with less energy required to build, and lighter in weight due to the integrated design that requires fewer fasteners and an optimised fibre architecture.
NEXICOS resulted in the production of a demonstration fuselage section with a length of three metres and a height of 2.8 metres, which validated the expected benefits from this production approach.