Japan-based Toray Industries today announced that it has signed a long-term agreement with aerospace and defence giant EADS to supply carbon-fibre pre-impregnated materials (prepregs) primarily for the Airbus over a 15-year period.
Prepregs – resin impregnated with fibres – are formed into lightweight sheets or strips that are used in the manufacture of aeroplane parts.
Until now, EADS has been supplied with prepregs through third parties, built from carbon-fibre material supplied by Toray. The new agreement calls for Toray to supply a wider range of products, including its carbon-fibre prepregs, directly to EADS.
The demand for carbon fibre in aircraft has been stagnant since 2008. However, there are signs of recovery and expansion in the market, as major aircraft manufacturers increase the number of aircraft they produce.
Airbus has been using carbon-fibre composite materials in primary and secondary structural material of A320 Single Aisle Family, A330/A340, Long-Range Family and A380. With the A350 XWB, a new generation of long-range medium-sized jets, carbon-fibre composite materials will be used in a significant scale in wings and fuselages.
EADS is Europe’s largest aerospace company, comprising aircraft-manufacturer Airbus, helicopter-maker Eurocopter, space systems developer Astrium and the EADS defence and security division.