Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs opens Stork Aerospace Glare factory

11/24/2003, 2:50 PM (Source: GlobeNewswire)
Minister Brinkhorst of Economic Affairs today officially opened the new Stork Aerospace factory in Papendrecht (The Netherlands) for series production of fuselage panels made from the new material Glare for the Airbus A380.

Glare ('Glass Reinforced Aluminium') consists of alternating layers
of thin aluminium alloy sheets and prepreg made of strong glass
fibres and epoxy adhesive. The material was developed jointly with
the Delft University of Technology and the National Aerospace
Laboratory in the Netherlands. Thanks to its unique combination of
the best properties of metals and composites the material is lighter
(by up to 25%) and stronger than aluminium, and offers higher
resistance to corrosion and metal fatigue.
After 20 years of research in the Netherlands, Stork has made the
material ready for production on an industrial scale. The real
breakthrough for Glare came when Airbus selected it in 2001 for the
upper fuselage section of the Airbus double-deck airliner A380, which
with a capacity of 550 passengers will be the largest series-produced
aircraft ever built.
The application in the fuselage of the A380 requires a production
capacity for 27 fuselage panels (up to 11 metres long), with a total
area of 470 square metres of material per aircraft. The production
facilities required for this complex process represent an investment
of EUR 40 million. A 750 metres track system has been built for the
transport and sorting of the aluminium sheets, using 4,000 hooks and
pulleys. The material is hardened at high temperature and pressure in
an autoclave, which with a length of 23 metres and a diameter of 5.5
metres is one of the largest ovens in the world. The quality of the
internal bonding of the laminates is checked by means of
C-scan technology, in which ultrasonic signals are passed through the

Airbus now has 129 'firm commitments' for the A380. For Stork, the
supply of Glare for this Airbus type represents a turnover of
approximately EUR 30 million a year over an expected period of
several decades, starting in 2005.

Kees de Koning, director of Stork Aerospace Industries, said: "Since
Airbus awarded us the order to design and produce the fuselage panels
for the A380 in 2001, a tremendous performance has been achieved by a
large multidisciplinary Stork Fokker team in partnership with the
Delft University of Technology, the NLR and our suppliers. Within a
very short time and working simultaneously the material has been
certified, the panels have been designed, the production technology
has been developed and a factory has been built in which that
technology can be applied on an industrial scale."

Of the new technologies used by Airbus in the A380, Stork Aerospace
supplies not only Glare panels but also the fixed leading edges -
made of thermoplastic composites - of the aircraft's huge wings. The
official handover of the first of these fixed wing leading edges
('J-Nose') took place on 1 October 2003. As published previously
Stork expects the building of these edges to generate an average
turnover of approximately EUR 20 million per year, spread over an
expected period of several decades starting in 2004.

Stork Aerospace is working together with Airbus and the Fibre Metal
Laminates Centre of Competence (FMLC) to investigate the possibility
of using Glare also for the leading edges of the tail surfaces of the

Stork Aerospace Industries designs and produces lightweight
structural components and wiring systems for commercial and military
aircraft. It is part of the Stork Aerospace Group. This group (3,225
employees) achieved a turnover of EUR 411 million in 2002, out of the
total Stork turnover of EUR 2 billion.
Press information:
Stork N.V.
Dick Kors
Tel.: +31 (0)35 695 75 75 or +31 (0)6 51 98 40 54
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