The issue of composite repair has grown in significance with the wider use of the material in airframe construction. GKN Aerospace says it has developed hot bond heater mat technology into a highly efficient composite repair process applicable to many repair tasks.
A modification to its autoclave to incorporate a hot bonder has enabled the company to implement the “hot bond box” repair process within an autoclave. It applies localized heat only to the damaged area of the part within the autoclave environment, heating and forming only the section requiring repair while preserving the integrity of the remainder of the part.
The development offers a number of benefits, including minimizing the risk of distortion to the part, reducing turnaround times and limiting energy costs. It also cuts tooling costs since only localized tooling is required for the area to be repaired. The process means the repair is achieved using standard production materials rather than the more expensive specialized materials required to perform lower-temperature repairs outside the autoclave.