With the deadlines for the targets set by the EU Circular Economy Package for sustainable production practices fast approaching, companies in every sector are working to improve their sustainability performance. The use of recycled materials, which helps in diverting materials from landfill disposal, can help the industry to reach these goals. To that end, Cannon group company Cannon Ergos is working with Boeing on moulding trials to test the feasibility of using recycled carbon fibre (rCF) for the fabrication of aircraft cabin interior sidewall panels.
The recovery and reuse of carbon fibre waste during production processes and end-of-life applications such as automotive and aeronautics has proven to be economically viable.
“For several years, together with sister companies Cannon Afros and Cannon Tipos, we have successfully undertaken numerous projects that offer new life to recycled carbon fibre” said Mattia Andolfatto, Project Manager R&D at Cannon Ergos. “By combining various technologies and production processes tailored for each application, we have been able to effectively process recycled carbon fibre whether impregnated with diverse resins, or already integrated within a thermoplastic matrix. The project with Boeing demonstrates the viability of fabricating interior sidewall panels with high-performance thermoplastics reinforced with recycled carbon fibre.”
The project’s latest stage involves Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials (MCAM), a global supplier of high-performance reinforced polymers for which Cannon Ergos has designed, manufactured, and installed a customised and fully equipped thermo-compression unit.
The project uses this custom-produced equipment to produce prototype sidewall panels with Mitsubishi’s new Kyrontex material. Large-scale production of this material, a carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic composite, is achieved using a novel dry impregnation technology that combines high-throughput production with continuous inline quality measurements to maintain a consistent quality. The resulting carbon fibre composite fabric can be used directly to produce highly complex parts without the intermediate production of a laminate. The material, which can incorporate recycled carbon fibre, is fully recyclable. Typical resin matrices utilised for Kyrontex thermoplastic composite aeronautical applications includepolyamide (PA), polyetherimide (PEI), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polyaryletherketone (PAEK).