Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC, 漢翔航空工業), the nation’s largest civilian and military aerospace manufacturer, is eyeing opportunities from rising demand for carbon fiber composite materials.
As aircraft design advances, carbon fiber composite is becoming a bigger part of the bill of materials, the company said at news conference in Taipei.
AIDC, which has partnered with US-based Bell Helicopter, said that carbon fiber composites now account for about 90 percent of the materials it uses, while the figure has climbed to about 50 percent for many civilian and military aircraft, AIDC president Lin Nan-chu (林南助) said.
Composites in mainstream jetliners, such as Boeing Co’s B787 and Airbus SE’s A350, have also surpassed 50 percent, replacing parts that were previously made with metal alloys, Lin said.
A similar trend has been in older product lines, such as the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 family, he said.
The demand for commercial aircraft has been rising at the same time, with Airbus gauging demand in the next 20 years at 34,900 units, worth an estimated US$5.3 trillion, and Boeing predicting the backlog to reach 41,030 units, worth about US$6.1 trillion, Lin said.
He said that suppliers are expected to focus resources on developing moldless composite manufacturing and further improvements to automation, while advanced aircraft designs would reduce reliance on fasteners.
Aerospace suppliers have been pursuing composite material technologies in face of rising competition that requires ever-increasing speed, flexibility and cost savings, AIDC chairman Anson Liao (廖榮鑫) said.
While composite materials are praised for their strength, lightness and corrosion resistance, the aerospace sector would have to develop recycling solutions to mitigate the materials’ environmental impact, Liao said.
The market for composite materials is expected to expand 5 percent annually, increasing from last year’s US$82 billion to US$103 billion by 2021, Liao said, citing findings by JEC Group, a France-based industry association.
Liao said that carbon composite manufacturing could use 3D printing technology to accommodate the complexity of future aircraft designs that rely on biomimicry.
Biomimicry refers to engineering that draws on insights from nature, such as studying birds to build quieter aircraft or mimicking the structure of bones and cells in aircraft bulkhead designs to reduce weight.
Meanwhile, UHT Unitech Co (永虹先進材料), a carbon-composite producer that is a member of AIDC’s “A-Team” supply chain alliance, said it expects to begin shipping products to fill an order by a Chinese customer in the first quarter of next year, thanks to its proprietary high-temperature graphitization manufacturing process.
Founded in 2012, UHT Unitech is a newcomer to the field, which is dominated by Japan’s Toray Industries Inc and Toho Tenax Co Ltd, and US-based Hexcel Corp.
The rise of the cryptocurrency dogecoin has reached a new level after the token was used to pay for a lunar satellite launch. SpaceX, Elon Musk’s commercial rocket firm, is to embark on a moon voyage next year carrying a so-called cubesat — a mini-satellite used for space research — from Geometric Energy Corp that has been paid for entirely in dogecoin. The development is the latest twist in the saga over the digital token, which started as a joke in 2013, but is now a dominating Internet meme and sitting on a 21,000 percent rally in the past year. Musk has
CAPACITY EXPANSION: Construction of the site, which is to be the firm’s first mRNA production facility outside of Europe, is to begin this year and likely finish in 2023 COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNTech SE yesterday said it would build a Southeast Asia headquarters and manufacturing site in Singapore to produce hundreds of millions of messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccines per year. Construction of the site would start this year, and it could become operational by 2023, the German company said in a statement. “With this planned mRNA production facility, we will increase our overall network capacity, and expand our ability to manufacture and deliver our mRNA vaccines and therapies to people around the world,” BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin said. The vaccine produced by BioNTech jointly with Pfizer Inc of
OUTBREAK: About 200 of the airline’s 1,200 pilots are not able to work. Most of them have been quarantined to prevent further infection, but 12 have COVID-19 China Airlines Ltd (CAL,中華航空) yesterday confirmed that it would temporarily reduce its cargo flight services to cope with a pilot shortage, as one-sixth of its pilots have been sidelined by a COVID-19 outbreak. “We are working out a new schedule,” the airline said in a statement after local news media reports on Saturday said that it would be reducing its cargo services from Wednesday, primarily affecting US destinations. CAL declined to give details about its new operating plan, but the reports said that it would be suspending its cargo flights to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and
The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Citibank Taiwan Ltd (花旗台灣) NT$10 million (US$357,194) and DBS Bank Taiwan (星展台灣) NT$6 million for breaches of the nation’s anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. The NT$10 million fine is the highest penalty that it has imposed on a domestic bank, the commission said. Citibank Taiwan failed to set up a sound mechanism for evaluating clients’ risk of money laundering and for detecting suspicious transactions, Banking Bureau Deputy Director-General Huang Kuang-hsi (黃光熙) told a news conference in New Taipei City. The bank based its AML policies on those of its US-based parent company, Citigroup Inc, but the policies