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Helping Aircraft Floats Float Better

Opportunity

With a 50-year history of engineering and manufacturing aircraft floats, Wipaire, Inc. recognized the opportunity to enhance the performance of aluminum floats for the 10-seat Quest KODIAK. A rugged multimission utility plane that can carry both cargo and passengers and serve as an air ambulance, the KODIAK regularly takes off, flies and lands in demanding and hostile conditions.

Like other amphibious aircraft, the KODIAK has floats with hatch covers that allow for inspection and must pass strict performance requirements. Since these hatches contribute to the aircraft’s overall weight, the lighter they are, the lighter the aircraft. And the more durable they are, the safer the pilot and passengers, the harsher the conditions the hatches can withstand and the easier the maintenance.

Wipaire engineers knew how and why lighter, stronger hatch covers would be better. They also knew to partner with PlastiComp to help make their vision a reality.

Approach

PlastiComp and Wipaire engineers and experts collaborated at every stage of the process, from design conception to mold-flow analysis. With Wipaire using its own aluminum production to build the mold, PlastiComp contributed its deep experience, knowledge, long-glass reinforced thermoplastic composites and patented, proprietary technology to create structural ribs to make the hatch covers.

Solution

Compression Molded Long Fiber Thermoplastic CompositePlastiComp’s direct glass-mat thermoplastic process for the compression molding of the hatch covers proved to be a perfect approach to Wipaire’s need to replace metal parts with low- weight, higher-performing parts. The productive partnership was also efficient; together, PlastiComp and Wipaire experts created the cover in a quick, 120-day period.

For Wipaire, the largest maker of aircraft floats globally, the partnership continues to be productive. The company will work with PlastiComp to develop covers for other aircraft hatches and will seek out additional opportunities to replace metal parts with plastic composites. Most importantly, since Wipaire manufactures highly specialized products for a niche audience, the responsive partnership it has developed with PlastiComp will help it grow and expand its programs efficiently and cost-effectively.

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LFT Solutions

PlastiComp extends long fiber technology to achieve unique material solutions

Complēt Long Glass Fiber
Structural performance in polymers form PP to PEEK.

Complēt MT
Ultra durable for demanding applications.

Complēt Long Carbon Fiber
Reduce weight or obtain higher performance.

Complēt Hybrid
Cost effectively adopt carbon fiber performance.

Velocity
Improved flow fills thin walls or enhances surface aesthetics.

Multifunctional Composites
Combine reinforcement with functional performance.

PlastiComp's Capabilities

Solution Partnerships
We work with you to design and make your products better

Custom Composites
We produce materials to your performance and design needs

Design & Analysis
We work with you to concept and ensure your parts perfom.

Processing & Forming
Quickly develop and maximizie long fiber’s benefits.

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