Following the rapid expansion of this division with the acquisition of the advanced composites businesses of EDAC and Cobham plc, Meggitt Polymers & Composites will be managed through three customer-facing ‘value streams’. These are dedicated to achieving the greatest possible intimacy with our customers, solving problems today with our enriched engineering function and preparing for tomorrow by aligning our applied research and technology (AR&T) investments closely with their technology roadmaps.
Fuel Containment & Systems
Flexible fuel tanks
Meggitt Polymers & Composites fuel tanks are unique. Some can take a bullet, so military pilots and crew can get back to base safely without loss of fuel or risk of fire.
Some remain intact after high impact helicopter crashes on rough terrain, so if pilots and crew survive the crash, they won’t burn to death from a fuel fire.
Others simply contain the fuel — we make the longest lasting fuel tanks in the world.
Nitrile crashworthy and ballistically-resistant
Before our crashworthy fuel tanks, over 42% of survivable helicopter crashes in the US resulted in deaths from fuel fires.
Today, Meggitt’s crashworthy, self-seal fuel tanks, which meet the ultra-rigorous standards of flexibility, strength, impact and cut-and-tear resistance of US MIL-T-27422B, have stopped fuel spillage and reduced fire-related death and injury in such crashes to almost zero — that’s one recorded death from a post-crash impact fire since the early 1970s.
Flying home safely on a shot tank
If wounded by a high impact explosive 23 mm bullet, Meggitt’s ballistically-resistant fuel bladders will self-seal in less than two minutes. The wound is encased in a rubber gel, which suppresses the ignition source and stops fuel leakage almost immediately.
Who we work with
We’re on the main and auxiliary systems of virtually all US military helicopters and have a growing European presence.
Polyurethane lightweight, long-life
Fuel bladders with at least a 30-year lifespan
30 years ago, we launched our long-life, lightweight bladder fuel cells based on polyurethane technology. Maintenance-free, with inner liners that won’t dry out and become fatally brittle when empty for extended periods, these fuel tanks are flexible and withstand the stresses and strains of take-off and landing.
Today, the first installations of these tanks are going strong, as are the 200,000 we’ve supplied to a wide range of military and civil aircraft since. We remain the only manufacturer to have perfected this technology, setting a standard of longevity in the late 1970s that has not been approached — never mind beaten.
Who we work with
Virtually every US business jet, fighter, bomber, tanker and transport you’d care to name.
We design and develop a complete range of sealing solutions for aerospace, marine and energy applications.
Our products deliver elastomeric solutions to the problem of sealing aerodynamic surfaces, aero-engines and nacelles and the transportation of air and fluid.
We help transform aircraft into a continuous flow of materials, sealing essential spaces created by essential equipment such as landing gear, wings, engines, nacelles, windows and doors. Our products are flexible enough to perform, yet rigid enough to maintain structural integrity.
And we separate essential spaces. Our products stop fire spreading between engine zones, ensure bleed air does not bleed and hydraulics do not leak, minimising component contamination and optimising the performance of the aircraft systems they serve.
Our engineers work closely at concept stage with their customer counterparts to understand each others’ constraints and opportunities. Early involvement means we can optimise the structure of any part, joining one to another, minimally yet safely, saving weight and cost.
Manufacturing and material science
Design is critical to solutions that deliver savings but this is underpinned by the deployment of cost-effective generic tools where possible, Lean manufacturing and chemistry
Up to 20% lighter
Our latest compound is enabling us to reduce silicone density by up to 20%, saving around 100 kilograms on a typical commercial aircraft’s usage of a half tonne of elastomer throughout its structure.
EFC100, the award-winning leak-proof variant of the polyurethane-based material we use to create our lightweight, yet long-lasting flexible fuel tanks, can be sprayed or painted inside wet wing and other airframe cavities used to store fuel. Eliminating unscheduled downtime and maintenance costs associated with conventional coatings, the product has a tensile strength of around 4,000 pounds per square inch, dwarfing that of conventional polysulphide coatings, which rarely exceed a tenth. It is 30 per cent lighter and, minus the plasticisers that dry and crack in ordinary coatings, EFC100 withstands the stresses and strains of take-offs and landings over the lifetime of an aircraft.
Who we work with
- Meggitt’s aerodynamic seals are used by all commercial aircraft manufacturers including Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, Bombardier and Agusta Westland and their suppliers such as GKN, GE Aerostructures, SONACA and Aircelle.
- Our high temperature, fire-resistant seals are specified by the world’s major engine manufacturers — GE, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce — and their nacelle contractors.
- EFC 100 is on the DC-9, BAe Jetstream 41, USAF KC-10 (bearclaw), KC-135 and E-8C JSTARS, Sikorsky S-76 and UH-60, US Navy and US Marines C-130 and the US Navy C-9, E-6 and P-3.
Meggitt’s capability in advanced composites was boosted in late 2015 by the acquisition of the advanced composites businesses of Cobham plc and EDAC.
EDAC was founded in the 1950s. It started to expand, reinforcing its capabilities and specialised processes from the 1970s onwards when it built its Erlanger facility in Kentucky, USA. This is located in close proximity to GE, one of the most progressive engine manufacturers in the world.
Today, virtually no composite shop offers as many manufacturing capabilities and vertically-integrated processes in-house as this business, which is why it is open to virtually any geometric and material challenge.
The majority of the acquired EDAC businesses are in advanced engine composites for engines. EDAC has a footprint in engine components on every major commercial aerospace platform worldwide and, from among those, the fastest growing: LEAP, the PW10000G, the GEnx and the GE90.
Like EDAC, the advanced composites businesses of Cobham plc (CAC) have a noble track record in their fields. A suite of best-in-class design, process engineering and manufacturing capabilities enable it to maintain an indispensable presence in the market.
Like EDAC, CAC’s capability has been grown deliberately and carefully over decades. A series of acquisitions started in 1985, with engine components for Rolls-Royce engines and structural parts for UAVS. A radomes capability was acquired in the late 1990s with Nurad. In 2008, Sparta delivered very sophisticated composite manufacturing and process engineering capabilities.
However, where EDAC is a predominantly civil business that has grown in stature and capability with progressive civil engine manufacturers, CAC’s technology evolution has been driven by a long history responding to very demanding high-spec military requirements.
Weight and cost savings certainly make composites as attractive for the military as commercial airlines. However, in military, they’re in demand for stealth and low radar observability and even higher degrees of engine performance and extreme aerodynamics. This has culminated in CAC’s composite presence today on the F35, the US Department of Defense’s highest priority programme.
CAC’s product lines divide into engine components, airframe structures and radomes.
CAC’s engine components encompass multiple flight critical products such as spinners and stators, exhaust flaps and internal multi-stage components. These are present on high-volume, high-growth platforms like the JSF, the F35 and the F22. There are 100 CAC composite parts on the F135 engine alone.
However, CAC has also secured good positions on the A320neo, the C-Series, the MRJ, the 777X, the 787, the A380 and the G650. Not only can they deliver very difficult geometric designs to strict performance criteria, they can make them consistently and at very competitive prices.
CAC’s aircraft structures business is largely dedicated to special-purpose aircraft systems, not least of which is the air-to-air refuelling platform on the NATO fleet.
CAC’s radomes have a high profile in multiple military applications on either side of the Atlantic. However, CAC has access to a fast-growing commercial market in aircraft satellite communications. GoGo, a leading internet service provider on commercial and business aircraft, has granted CAC a sole-source contract to produce radomes for its new satcom product.
All the options in an era of change
Meggitt Polymers & Composites has been keeping critical aerodynamic surfaces and engine air inlets ice free without limiting flight range and safety for over 50 years and is uniquely experienced in the primary technologies — bleed air and next generation electro-thermal systems.
Our engineering teams, many of whom have aircraft constructor experience, know how to design, integrate, manufacture and qualify products and systems in ways that minimise programme risk. We offer complete solutions from ice modelling and analysis; controllers and control system algorithms; electrical power management design; integrated heated structures and materials; to qualification, icing tunnel test, flight trial and certification support and sub-systems integration.
Next generation electro-thermal
We are trialling our latest innovation — electro-thermal ice protection with advanced smart control — with a leading manufacturer of fuel-efficient, more electric fixed wing aircraft.
Meggitt’s energy-conscious, electro-thermal ice protection uses up to 50% less power than traditional bleed air systems and delivers 100% more control. Using clever control logic, our systems react to flight conditions, providing the right amount of power, in the right place, at the right time. The development is now the subject of further investment as part of an EU Clean Skies II-sponsored, industry-wide consortium led by Meggitt in which a 90% reduction in power consumption is being targeted.
Complex, composite structures
We offer a wide range of electro-thermal structural solutions. Our composite parts, embedded with resistive heater elements and electronic control and protection equipment, range from simple monolithic components to complex hybrid sandwich structures using resin systems that can operate at over 200ºC.
Because our approach to structural excellence is based on optimising load, weight and cost without compromising performance and reliability, we have been selected to work with a major airframer to integrate our pioneering electro-thermal ice protection system into an advanced heated structure and are positioned strongly to provide low risk ice protection solutions for composite wings.
Who we work with
Meggitt’s systems, whether bleed air or advanced electro-thermal solutions, protect engine inlets, canards and tail and rotor blades on a wide range of business jets, helicopters and turbo-prop aircraft. Their makers include Bell/Boeing, AgustaWestland, Embraer, Eurocopter, Fokker, Hawker Beechcraft, Rolls-Royce, Piaggio, Sikorsky and others.
Meggitt’s composites capability includes the production of non-heated composites for the helicopter cabin interiors of all Sikorsky helicopters.
These include acoustic panels and blankets that suppress noise and vibration, ducts for environmental control systems and supports and covers that protect everything from a simple seat to electronics, hydraulic lines and control rods. A typical ship set of between 75 and 100 products includes a wide range of accessories from storage bags to cabin and cargo straps. All products are easy to fit and for maintenance purposes easy to remove. All are designed to maximise space and minimise weight.
Meggitt Polymers & Composites has access to a range of Meggitt shared facilities including the group’s manufacturing facility in Xiamen, China