TenCate composites - markets and customers
The major customers of TenCate for civil aviation are Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer and their direct suppliers. US companies account for 55% of the global market in aerospace, European companies, 25%. Airbus and Boeing together have a market share of 80%. The fixed wing leading edge (J-nose) and the engine inlet among other parts of the Airbus A380 are made of TenCate Cetex®.
Various parts of the A350 will also be based on thermoplastic materials from TenCate. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner too uses this material.
TenCate supplies the composite materials for the floor panels and the moving horizontal and vertical parts of the tail for the Gulfstream G650 business jet
Other types of aircraft in which the material is used include the Airbus A320 (the ‘workhorse’ of the Airbus fleet), the A400 M, the Boeing 737, Boeing 747-8, Boeing 777 and Boeing 767; the Embraer Lineage, Phenom 100 and Phenom 300, the Gulfstream G550 and the Apache AH64 helicopter.
Frédérique Mutel, chairman and CEO of JEC Composites
The aircraft industry is sometimes depicted as conservative, but ‘cautious’ is a more fitting description – at least that is the view of Frédérique Mutel, chairman and CEO of JEC Composites. Safety and reliability are paramount and ensuring these takes a great deal of time. The major challenge here is to produce more aircraft using the same quality and to produce lighter parts for aircraft that can go faster at lower costs, while still retaining the same quality. The answer to all this is the automation of production processes (by robotization and simulation) and innovation of materials. ‘Aerospace has no choice.’
The only solution for weight saving is composites. The use of composites makes aircraft lighter and increases their lifespan. As this will also enable the air pressure and atmospheric humidity to be increased, passenger comfort too will be enhanced. Composites thus have an advantage because, unlike aluminium, absolutely no material fatigue will occur.
Production in Morgan Hill (USA)
Customers have their own reasons for opting for composite materials from TenCate: reliability and continuity, for example. TenCate offers excellent technical service, very short lead times and a wide selection of specialty products for key segments like radomes and satellites. Radome manufacturers want composites that are dielectrically very pure: glass and quartz fabrics with no carbon fibre contamination. In the Morgan Hill facility the group has carbon-free areas.