Home' Asian Aviation : AAV_May2012 Contents 34 AsianAviation | MAY 2012
Japan has long been seen as a composite
centre of excellence, with its expertise
resulting in the country s three big suppliers --
Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), Kawasaki Heavy
Industries (KHI) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
(MHI) -- being responsible for 35 per cent of the
airframe of the Boeing 787 -- an aircraft that uses
composites more than any aircraft before.
But Japan is by no means the only composite
player in the region, with companies and research
organisations in Australia, China, Malaysia, South
Korea and Taiwan building expertise. And with
the necessary cost efficiencies, skills base and
capabilities, the major aircraft manufacturers are
increasingly relying on the region.
In Malaysia, for example, Composites Technology
Research Malaysia (CTRM), Asian Composites
Manufacturing (ACM) and SME Aerospace are all
winning business from the major manufacturers,
backed by a government which sees composites as
a key growth industry.
CTRM has steadily expanded its aerospace
portfolio since it was established in 1990. The
company started out manufacturing the Eagle 150B
two-seat composite light aircraft but today is a single
source manufacturer for the Airbus A320, A380,
A400M, A350 XWB, Boeing 737, 767, 777 and
787; is a centre of excellence for composite wing
panels and fan cowls; and is part of the global supply
chain of EADS, Boeing and Airbus. The company
recently expanded into helicopter work, supplying
the composite fenestron for the Eurocopter EC-
130. CTRM attributes its success to the fact it is
self-sufficient and self-managed, and meets the
quality, cost and delivery requirements of global
CTRM, which is majority owned by the government
and 2 per cent by state oil company Petronas,
employs 1,527 personnel at a 500,000sq metre
facility in Melaka. It has also established the
Composite Testing Laboratory Asia and says it is
looking to broaden its customer base by exploring
new customers in Japan, Korea and China, for
example, and diversifying its products into rotary
wing and nacelle parts. In research and development,
it is working on new composite manufacturing
processes, green technology and new materials.
Its long term plan, in stages, is to become a tier
one supplier, says CTRM, adding that over a 10 year
period it aims to emerge as "a super tier two supplier".
ACM, meanwhile, is a Boeing-Hexcel joint venture,
employing over 700 personnel.
The company currently manufactures composite
panels for the 737 fixed leading edge, 737 ailerons,
737/747/767/777 fixed trailing edge, 767 and 777
fixed leading edge, 767 and 777 webs and wedges,
747-8 variable camber/krueger flaps and 747-8
ailerons and spoilers.
The world s largest supplier of commercial aircraft
AIDC has achieved success in the global aerospace industry due to its more than
30-year experience in complex contour parts lay-up, as well as low labour costs
- Jennifer Chuang, deputy director business development department, AIDC
Companies throughout the Asia-Paci c region are increasingly gaining a reputation for their
advanced composite manufacturing capabilities. Emma Kelly looks at some of the players.
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