Egmond Plastic is the global specialist in the area of fusible core injection moulding in combination with Peek material with carbon reinforced fibres. This technology makes it possible to mould inject complicated hollow parts all at one time, without the need for welding. With more than 20 years of experience in fusible core injection moulding for the aerospace industry, this type of production technology has been used for the fuel system components for military and civil aircrafts. The advantages are very obvious; 50% weight reduction as well as a possible 30% cost reduction.
The manufacturing of a scroll for the air cycle machine would be a next step for fusible core injection moulding technology. No company offered the scroll in thermoplastic material. This program identified, designed, and manufactured a scroll made from thermoplastic material (Peek with reinforced carbon fibres), using a fusible core. This program demonstrated the use of thermoplastic material for this application and proved that considerable gains are to be expected when making the scroll from thermoplastic material.
The expected impact of the program was large. For Clean Sky, considerable weight savings were expected, resulting in lower emissions and improved performance. From a technical point of view, it is the next step in technology change for the air cycle machine and it might lead to possible other components to be replaced with a thermoplastic material. From Egmond Plastic, this program provided an opportunity to become the world class leader of fusible core technology for the aerospace industry.
The objective for this program was to design, build and test a scroll in thermoplastic, without jeopardizing the functionality of the scroll, in thermoplastic material in order to reduce the component weight by 50%, reduce manufacturing cost by 30% and reduce lead time by 50%. The second objective was to design a scroll such that it can function in a harsh environment with high ambient temperatures and a high mechanical fatigue environment.
The objectives for this program were met. Egmond Plastic has manufactured several inlet scrolls for this program which are approx. 50% lighter compared to the existing scroll for considerable lower cost and lead time using the fusible core technology despite the various challenges.
The challenges in this program were severe and included the following:
- The fusible core technology has never been used with the type of thermoplastic specified in the program;
- The fusible core technology has never been used for such a large component such as an inlet scroll for a single aisle aircraft;
- In the air management system for an aircraft, no components have been made from Peek thermoplastic material using the fusible core technology.
The program has shown and demonstrated the following:
- The program has demonstrated that the use of this material (Peek with 40% reinforced carbon fibres) can be successfully applied for an inlet scroll;
- The program has demonstrated that the fusible core technology can be applied successfully with a large component such as an inlet scroll;
- This is the first time that the fusible core technology in combination with Peek thermoplastic has successfully been applied for an inlet scroll of the air management system for a typical single aisle aircraft;
- The program has validated that the fusible core technology has a high degree of reproducibility. Several inlet scrolls in various production batches have been produced;
- The program has achieved readiness level 5;
- The fusible core technology has demonstrated that a high degree of integration can be used. In other words, an assembly of multi components can be produced as one component, reducing the number of possible failures.
The change from aluminium towards Peek thermoplastic material will result in some major savings during the lifetime of an aircraft. It is expected that the jet fuel saving for an average single aisle aircraft will exceed the €35,000 over the lifetime. It is expected that other parts can be replaced with thermoplastic material to further reduce the weight of the air management system of an aircraft and reduce the CO2 emission of an aircraft.