Airbus Helicopters has replaced aluminum in a fitting in the aircraft door of the Airbus A350-900 with a high-modulus, carbon fiber-reinforced PEEK resin grade from Victrex (Thornton Cleveleys, UK). The bracket, now manufactured from Victrex PEEK 90HMF40, has been developed by Airbus Helicopters and is in serial production for commercial use after receiving the relevant component qualification. The successful substitution of metal has resulted in a 40 percent reduction in weight and costs. The injection-molded polymer solution replaces the higher cost manufacture of the bracket machined from an aluminum block.
The fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) structure of the A350XWB's aircraft door uses an outer skin coupled with a bracing structure on the inside. The new fitting connects the outer skin to points on the internal bracing structure. The two components form a box-type structure to exploit the maximum geometrical moment of inertia.