SAN DIEGO - Boeing Co. wants materials suppliers to control the variability of their advanced composites and address issues from a systems standpoint. ``As you gain control over processes that you use to make the materials, we can move toward the reduction of end-item inspection, which is very expensive,'' Robert Schaffnit told the Suppliers of Advanced Composite Materials Association's fall conference in San Diego. He is a materials engineer with Boeing's commercial aircraft group.
``From an airline's point of view, they only care that the structure works and adds value,'' he said, suggesting Boeing, material suppliers and finish-system suppliers must work together.
``There are a lot of composites flying out there,'' Schaffnit said.
More than 6,000 Boeing-made aircrafts are in service, and the company plans to produce 300-400 planes in 1997.
``The extent to which we expand the application of composites is going to depend on how successfully we are collectively in addressing some of the issues,'' he said.
To meet the airlines' interest in lower-temperature-curing repair materials, Boeing is evaluating a 250§ F-curing prepreg and a 150§ F-curing wet lay-up resin.
Specialists from Seattle-based Boeing, other aircraft makers, materials suppliers and airlines work together as the Commercial Aircraft Composite Repair Com-mittee to find common repair materials. Now, multiple systems complicate repair processes.
Schaffnit pointed toward the need for cost reductions in processing, material and assembly. Possibilities include more automation, the possibility of higher filament-count tows and shimless assembly.
SACMA represents the interests of 12 material suppliers and other industry members on issues of market expansion and technical, environmental and governmental affairs. SACMA was formed in 1984 and is based in Arlington, Va.