France-based company STELIA Aerospace has announced a new research project in collaboration with Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier. The project, which will be carried out by Bombardier and STELIA Aerospace’s two Canadian subsidiaries, will be focused on exploring advanced manufacturing processes such as 3D printing for the development of intelligent and lightweight wings for more efficient aircraft.
The project, called AILE (Intelligent and Light Wing for Environment), is part of the third phase of the ongoing eco-friendly aircraft SA2GE-3 initiative (Cutting-edge Aeronautical Systems for Environment). Supported by the government of Québec, the AILE collaborative research project will see STELIA Aerospace develop and produce a high-lift trailing edge flap structure which will ultimately be used on a test bed at Bombardier.
The structure, which will made from a thermoplastic composite, will be designed by an R&T team from STELIA Aéronautique Canada with support from the company’s France-based team. The manufacturing and demonstration phase will then be carried out by STELIA Aerospace North America, which is based in Nova Scotia.
The collaborative AILE project will also bring on other partners, including FusiA Impression 3D Metal Inc, a Quebec company specializing in the production and design of 3D metal parts. For this project, the company will produce metal hinges using 3D printing. The Canadian National Research Center (CNRC) will also join the effort, offering its know-how and resources on thermoplastic composite materials.
Overall, the goal of the three-year-long AILE research and technology project is to reduce the cycle time for the production of a metallic wing frame for business jets.
Cédric Gautier, CEO of STELIA Aerospace, said of the AILE project: “This new project with Bombardier highlights our wish to build strong links with out customer and will enable us to pursue our skill development strategy, while developing our footprint in Canada in terms of Research and Technology.”
In 2018, STELIA Aerospace achieved a feat in the AM and aerospace sectors, producing a large-scale demonstrator for metallic self-reinforced fuselage panels 3D printed using WAAM technology.