MEL COMPOSITES HELPS SINGULAR AIRCRAFT
NAVIGATE THE START OF THEIR JOURNEY INTO COMPOSITES
At MEL Composites, we find that on-site workshops are often the best way to understand our customers’ requirements with composites and pass on our technical expertise By taking our tailored courses direct to the customer, we can deliver composite training sessions that perfectly match the composite technology level of each customer.
Singular Aircraft, manufacturers of the FLYOX I – the world’s largest amphibious UAV – recently began a project to increase the number of composite parts used in their aircraft. The MEL Composites team was quickly on hand, providing material options, advice on a new cleanroom and production area for composites, and creating a 3 day training course for technical and manufacturing staff at Singular.
“A key part of a successful transition from metals to composites is understanding the most suitable technology level,” comments Eduardo Galofre, CEO, MEL Composites. “For Singular Aircraft, who are bringing production of lightweight composite parts in-house for the first time, vacuum bagged and infused components can provide impressive weight savings and excellent qualitywhilst avoiding the cost and complexity of setting up for autoclaved prepreg manufacturing.”
After a classroom introduction to composite materials and their processes, the Singular training moved to the workshop. Guiding Singular’s technicians through every step of the process, the MEL team supported the production of two composite wing parts. A solid laminate covering for the wing skin and a foam sandwich leading edge section were produced with vacuum infusion; the finished parts resulted in significant weight savings compared to existing aluminum parts.
“When a customer is relatively new to composites, we like to focus on the critical factors that will impact their success with the new process. We can take away a lot of the variables by supplying a package of high quality materials and consumables optimised for their process, and then we show them how important consistent control of lay-up techniques, workshop conditions and curing strategy is for a great result, time after time.”
Eduardo and the team at MEL Composites have helped us accelerate our production of composite materials. As part of our strategy to reduce the weight of our airframes and increase in-house component production, creating a robust, high-quality manufacturing process was vital to us.
The new composite wing skin and leading edge parts that we have worked on with MEL Composites are just the first step of our journey with lightweight composites. We’re now setting up the facility and tooling to expand our capability for additional monolithic and foam sandwich parts.