ITT Matrix Composites’ HiRPM® technology will also be used for component manufacturing in all future F-35 aircraft
ROCKLEDGE, Fla. — A precision closed molding process from Matrix Composites, an ITT Inc. company, is qualified on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 lighting program. The trademarked closed molding process, Hot Isostatic Resin Pressure Molding (HiRPM®), is also the established manufacturing process for all future F-35 aircraft, Matrix Composites said in a release.
Matrix Composites’ HiRPM technology is used on select parts within the aircraft’s horizontal tail assembly. Airframe components produced with this innovative process flew for the first time in 2019, the release said.
A molding process for advanced composite materials, HiPRM technology is reported to provide specific benefits over more traditional autoclave manufacturing typically used in aerospace and defense. It is designed for composite manufacturers of smaller and more intricate structures, such as critical edges, spars, and control surfaces.
Benefits of the HiRPM process are reported to include high part-to-part dimensional repeatability and reduced manufacturing cycle times with increased production yield. The process is also said to reduce the need for expensive post-machining and other next-level assembly operations and recurring manufacturing costs.
The company’s past performance on the F-22 Raptor and 26-year heritage in specialized composite processing led Lockheed Martin to select Matrix Composites to field closed molding technologies on the F-35 program, the release said.
“Our process is ideally suited for small, intricate parts requiring high dimensional accuracy,” said David Nesbitt, executive director, business development, Matrix Composites, in a statement. “We’re proud to help Lockheed Martin deliver a more effective and efficiently engineered F-35 aircraft.”
As a key supplier to the F-35 program, the Matrix Composites team worked with Lockheed Martin to create the company’s variant of a controlled-volume-molding (CVM) process.
“At ITT, we stand as a committed partner in moving the aviation industry forward,” said Farrokh Batliwala, president of ITT’s Connect and Control Technologies business. “Our strategic alignment of brands and products offers aerospace and defense customers a deep portfolio of innovative connect and control solutions. We’re proud to partner with Lockheed Martin to improve the performance and affordability of the F-35 program.”
More information about the HiRPM technology from Matrix Composites is available at www.matrixcomp.com.