Automated Composite Manufacturing Pilot Plant

The Automated Composite Manufacturing Pilot Plant (ACM Pilot Plant) is a manufacturing plant for composite aircraft components. The plant produces composite landing gear components while also developing new manufacturing techniques for high performance composites. Other high-tech companies that develop composites can also use the facility for testing their materials and automating production processes.

The ACM Pilot Plant is widely regarded as a key step in developing expert knowledge of composites. Composites are increasing replacing steel or aluminium parts in the aviation industry; moreover, composites are often stronger, more sustainable, less expensive, and capable of being applied in a wide variety of areas. The ACM Pilot Plant will start with the further robotification of the production of composite landing gear components. In a wider context, the plant will focus on producing composites reinforced with industrial resins, for which the plant is outfitted with ultra-modern equipment, including one of the largest robotic composite fibre braiding machines in Europe.

Cooperation with industry and SME

The ACM Pilot Plant is also open to other companies that want to produce their composites on a large scale, including to companies that are active outside the aviation sector. The unique knowledge and facilities available at the NLR site in Flevoland, are ideally suited for developing the most (cost-) efficient manufacturing methods. It is often precisely this last step – between a prototype and launching the product – that proves so difficult in bringing innovations to market.

Partners

The facility was set up in 2015 and derives from a Public-Private Partnership between Fokker Landing Gear and NLR-Netherlands Aerospace Centre, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the province of Flevoland and the Noordoostpolder municipality. At the Pilot Plant – which covers an area of some 500m2 – highly skilled automation experts and operators are engaged in automating, optimizing and rendering sustainable the manufacturing processes.

The ACM Pilot Plant is part of the ‘Smart Industry Fieldlab Flexible Manufacturing’.

For more information about the ACM Pilot Plant:

Bert Thuis bert.thuis@nlr.nl

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