Hexcel and Arkema to Open Joint Research and Development Laboratory

Hexcel and Arkema have announced that they will open a joint research and development laboratory in Les Avenières (Isère), France. This follows the companies’ previous announcement in March 2018 that they were forming a strategic alliance to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector, combining the expertise of Hexcel in carbon fiber and Arkema in PEKK.

The companies’ stated that their objective at the lab is to develop carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic prepreg tapes to enable lightweight parts to be produced for future generations of aircraft. According to the companies, these solutions will provide lightweight and cost-effective technologies, including faster production cycles for customers in the aerospace and the space and defense sectors.

An initial industrial pilot line will reportedly be installed in the new lab, and the companies expect to start supplying carbon/thermoplastic UD tapes from this pilot line to customers for evaluation beginning in Q3 2019.