BLADE composite Krueger flaps produced at ASCO in the frame of DEAMAK
By Michaël Raets, DEAMAK Technical Project Manager, ASCO Engineering dept
So-called ‘one-shot multi-cell’ Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) Krueger flaps, developed by ASCO Industries in the frame of the DEAMAK project (SFWA-ITD BLADE CfP Nr. JTI-CS-2010-2-SFWA-03-003 that kicked off in October 2010), were recently successfully produced by means of the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) technology at ASCO’s headquarters in Zaventem, Belgium.
Mid-term achievements were previously reported on the Clean Sky website in mid-2012. Since then, a lot of activities have taken place at ASCO for DEAMAK as well as in the rest of Europe for BLADE (nearly 20 partners and hundreds of people involved). Hard engineering work and a sound collaboration with Airbus enabled the design freeze of the ASCO Krueger flap structure in mid-2013. ASCO was the first to achieve this important milestone in the frame of BLADE. Subsequently, part, assembly and installation drawings were compiled by ASCO and successfully reviewed by Airbus in 2014 and 2015. The production of the metallic wing attachments was launched in parallel with the design and subsequent production of state-of-the-art RTM moulds for the CFRP Krueger panels. Last year, no fewer than four composite panel prototypes were produced by ASCO: two for mould validation (symmetric moulds for both left and right-hand side panels), one for US-NDT inspection strategy development and referencing, and one for First Part Qualification (FPQ) purposes. Thanks to these achievements, the DEAMAK project was nominated for the Best Clean Sky Project Award in 2015.
A DEAMAK panel was on display at the ASCO booth of the Le Bourget fair in mid-2015 (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: DEAMAK composite panel prototype exhibited at ASCO’s Le Bourget booth in June 2015
Finally, in May 2016, after an efficient collaboration of the several ASCO departments involved, the US-NDT special process audit was passed with great success and the production of the flying shipset panel was completed at ASCO, at least for what concerns the RTM process itself. In particular the latter forms a key milestone for ASCO as it corresponds to the first-ever production of flyable composite ASCO parts as the company, founded in 1954, had only been working on commercial projects concerning (hard) metallic structures! In the last couple of weeks, the following operations were carried out in the ASCO RTM production facilities (only operative since June 2013 and already successfully qualified in the frame of BLADE in May 2015): fibre cutting, preforming, compacting, mould closure, resin degassing & injection, curing and demoulding. Both the BLADE port and starboard wing Krueger flap panels are depicted in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2: DEAMAK left- and right-hand wing Krueger panels for BLADE aircraft after demoulding at ASCO in May 2016
Finally, it should be stressed that the DEAMAK project does not end with the above production. Indeed, several operations are still scheduled in the coming weeks and months on the two parts, namely dimensional control, visual & US-NDT inspections, machining of side & trailing edges, drilling of holes, testing of coupons cut from flap edges for material health validation, painting (2 primers + topcoat), assembly (limited thanks to the chosen ‘one-shot multi-cell’ concept), FAI activities for Airbus and final reporting towards Clean Sky. The common goal is to achieve all of this before the end of the year.
Thanks to the DEAMAK success story, ASCO is broadening its offerings and remaining at the forefront of technology. This proves again the ASCO dedication to meet its customers’ present and future needs.