Materials suppliers Arkema SA and Hexcel Corp. have entered into a strategic alliance to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector.
In a March 26 statement, the two companies said they would combine Hexcel's expertise in carbon fiber and that of Arkema in polyetherketoneketone.
As part of the project, the French and U.S.-based companies will develop carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic tapes to produce lightweight parts for future generations of aircraft.
In addition to lightweighting, the new composites are to provide lower cost and faster production speeds for customers in the aerospace and the space and defense sectors.
As part of this partnership, a joint research and development laboratory, located in France, will be established.
The project, according to Arkema Chairman and CEO Thierry Le Hénaff, will be implemented before the year end.
“[It will take effect] a few months before the commissioning of our new PEKK plant in the United States in Mobile, Ala., scheduled for the end of 2018,” he added.
Also commenting on the project, Nick Stanage, Hexcel chairman and CEO, said the partnership, as well as Hexcel's recent acquisition of the aerospace and defense business of Oxford Performance Materials, were part of its growth as a leading specialist in advanced composite thermoplastic technologies.