On Tuesday 26 June the ThermoPlastic composite Research Center (TPRC) opened the new laboratory and visitors’ centre in Enschede.
TPRC focuses on research into thermoplastic composites for a range of applications, including the aircraft industry. Interest in thermoplastic composites and their potential applications is increasing substantially.
In 2007 TenCate initiated TPRC. In addition to TenCate, Boeing, Fokker Aerostructures and the University of Twente have been partners from the very beginning.
In the new TPRC laboratory: From the right: Randy Wilkerson (manufacturing engineer Boeing), James Fox (associate technical fellow Boeing), René ten Thije (owner/director Aniform), Winand Kok (manager, engineering TenCate Advanced Composites), Harald Heerink (general manager TPRC), Remko Akkerman (technical director TPRC), Sjoerd Hooning (engineer DTC) and Sebastiaan Haanappel (researcher TPRC)
The use of thermoplastics in the aviation industry has substantially increased. Customers want products that are lighter, more cost-efficient and more environmentally friendly. Companies such as Boeing are looking for innovations that accelerate the development of thermoplastic composite technologies. They also want to make the production of thermoplastic composite products quicker and more efficient.
Now that the aviation industry must scale up, it has turned its attention to thermoplastic composites, although its knowledge in this respect is limited. On the other hand, the automotive industry does have experience with quick automated production processes, and thermoplastic composites are eminently suitable for such purposes because they are chemically stable. You can achieve short cycle times by using them.
The new laboratory and visitors’ centre were opened on Tuesday 26 June. Among the many present were William Gerry (chairman of the board of TPRC and representative of Boeing), Ed Brinksma (Rector Magnificus University of Twente), Loek de Vries (chairman of the board and CEO of Royal Ten Cate nv) and Wim Pasteuning (vice-president Fokker Programs).
‘Boeing has a long rich history in cooperating with suppliers and customers in the Netherlands,’ says Peter Hoffman (director global R&D strategy of Boeing). ‘We value Dutch technical expertise and this initiative. Dutch industry and academia are helping us to move ahead, with innovative aerospace technologies that will enable us to improve our global competitive position.’