Spirit has been advancing the State-of-the-Art AFP technology for over 20 years and currently operates 15 Production and 2 Research & Development (R&D) AFP machines with working envelopes larger than 68 feet in length and 23 feet in diameter. This equipment fabricates a multitude of large and complex aerospace composite structures for Commercial and Defense OEM’s. Spirit’s capability is due to extensive experience with gantry, post, and robotic AFP machines and being able to utilize either 8 or 16 tow heads with various widths of slit tape. Spirit is a dedicated leader of AFP technology with major equipment suppliers.
Not only is Spirit a leading Tier 1 Supplier with equipment development, but also continues to evaluate advanced material systems and applications for automated composite manufacturing. Future architectures will require higher toughened epoxies, thermoplastics, and materials with higher temperature capabilities in order to meet more stringent program requirements. Examples of higher temperature materials under evaluation include bismaleimides, polyimides, cyanate esters, oxide/oxide, silicon carbide ceramics and carbon/carbon for specific structural and thermal applications on new platforms.
Spirit AeroSystems Inc. is a major Tier 1 in the field of automated composite manufacturing with multiple domestic facilities that have vast composite Production and R&D capabilities. Current expertise and technology development will enable Spirit to optimize Design/Build automation solutions for future composite programs.