Constellium optimizes the eco-efficiency of its AIRWARE™ technology for the aerospace industry
Constellium has joined forces with partners in industry and research over Project OFELIA. This project aims to optimize the manufacture of parts using AIRWARETM technology and recycling processes.
Developed by Constellium, project OFELIA involves analysing and optimizing machining and manufacturing processes and the recycling of metal chips to maximize the lifecycle eco-efficiency of parts using AIRWARETM technology. It aims to make AIRWARETM the industry standard for every part of the aerospace manufacturing chain.
“AIRWARETM technology is inherently more ecological as a consequence of both weight reduction resulting from new alloys and possibility of continual recycling. The OFELIA project will let us look beyond current practices by studying the implementation of new machining strategies. We will seek to optimise recycling processes to maximize the benefits” said Christophe Villemin, President of Constellium’s Global Aerospace Transportation Industry Division.
Based at France’s ViaMéca competitive cluster, project OFELIA involves Constellium and various value chain and industrial players (Aubert & Duval, REX-Composites and LUSINA) on the one hand as well as research centres on the other (French Institute of Advanced Mechanics in Clermont-Ferrand, Armines-CEMEF, the research centre for the Paris, Ecole des Mines and Armines-SPIN).
4 million Euros will be invested in the project by the partners – industry, local authorities and the French public authorities. OFELIA is one of the 83 new joint R&D projects that qualified for funding from the French Ministries in charge of Economy and Industry, Research, Ecology and Defence in 2011.
For further information, see the note to editors below.
Constellium, formerly ALCAN Engineered Products, is a global sector leader that develops innovative, value added aluminium products for a broad scope of markets and applications, including aerospace, mass transportation, automotive, packaging, energy and building and construction.
With 9,500 employees located in 26 countries and a commercial presence in more than 60 markets, Constellium is structured in 4 divisions: Global Aerospace Transportation and Industry, Specialty Sheet, Extrusions & Automotive Structures and its international trading network AIN. Constellium, with headquarters in Paris, is owned by Apollo Management (51%), Rio Tinto (39%) and the “Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement” FSI (10%). Constellium generated US$ 4.4 billion of revenue in 2010.
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Note to editors
Constellium is working with partners in industry and science to innovate and exploit its eco-efficient AIRWARETM technology to serve the aerospace industry.
Constellium continues to develop AIRWARETM, its technology for tomorrow’s aircraft. It is now launching a project, with a variety of partners in aerospace, industry and research, to optimize the manufacture of parts using AIRWARETM technologies and recycling processes.
Technological innovation followed by manufacturing chain innovation
OFELIA is a joint project, developed by Constellium and based on AIRWARETM technology, which includes a range of innovative alloys designed specifically for the aerospace industry and already used by Airbus and Bombardier. It aims to make this innovative technology the industry standard for every part of the aerospace manufacturing chain. In particular this involves improved techniques for manufacturing aerospace parts using these new low-density alloys and recycling the machining chips to reduce overall consumption of raw materials.
AIRWARETM makes eco-efficiency a reality
Project OFELIA aims to maximize the lifecycle eco-efficiency of parts using AIRWARETM technology from the time they leave the rolling mill through to melting of machining chips, which can account for 90% of the initial quantity of the material. The total quantity of raw materials used to manufacture parts can be reduced in two ways: firstly, by optimizing manufacturing processes to reduce the quantity of aluminium required at the outset; secondly, by focusing on the size, chemical treatment, and collection of the metal chips. Long term, this project should make it possible to introduce closed loop recycling, increasing the quantity of aluminium recycled by the aerospace industry and generating significant material cost economies for everyone involved in the value chain.
Theoretical process modelling and reproduction on an international scale
Developed at the Constellium R&D centre in Voreppe in Isère (France), this project not only relies on a global vision that brings together international and local players, but also on a 360° vision that combines technical expertise and theoretical modelling. It is exemplified by the partnership between the various value chain and industrial players on the one hand, and the research sector on the other: a long standing global partnership between Constellium, Aubert & Duval, specialising in forging and forged parts, two machining SMEs, REX-Composites and LUSINA; and the IFMA, The French Institute of Advanced Mechanics in Clermont-Ferrand, Armines-CEMEF, research centre for the Paris Ecole des Mines, in Sophia-Antipolis and Armines-SPIN, in Saint-Etienne. The main centre for the project is the ViaMéca cluster (Clermont-Ferrand), one of the competitive clusters specializing in aerospace mechanical engineering and metallurgy, and in particular the advanced manufacturing processes division. Initially used in France, the theoretical process modelling developed for this project will serve as a model for international AIRWARETM technology developments, both at Constellium’s US site in Ravenswood (West Virginia), which will soon start using AIRWARETM technology, and elsewhere in the world.
A public-private, industrial and scientific partnership
Following an initial €42 million investment by Constellium to develop AIRWARETM production at its Issoire site (Puy-de-Dome, France), a further €4 million has been invested in project OFELIA by industrial and scientific partners, local authorities and French public authorities. Based around France’s 52 competitive clusters, this project is one of the 83 new joint R&D projects that qualified for funding from the French ministries in charge of Economy and Industry, Research, Ecology and Defence in March 2011. “I am delighted that this project is supported by a public-private partnership, a joint investment that will help to bring our partners together to optimise the manufacturing chain for the aircrafts of the future around our AIRWARETM technology. The results we achieve will generate productivity gains for the entire aerospace industry,” added Bruno Chenal, Director of Technology and Innovation for Constellium’s Global Aerospace Division.