"As an industry, we need support in developing this kind of specialist expertise, which is why cooperation with knowledge centres like NLR is indispensable"

Government, Defence, Industry and Knowledge Institutes – cooperating from idea to realisation

Sustainability in aviation is high on everyone’s agenda. That is why we are relentlessly pursuing the development of lightweight composites for the aerospace industry. By investing in product development and cooperation in innovation, Fokker Landing Gear - FLG is working with NLR to consolidate its national and international position, thereby supporting the growth of the composites industry and helping to conserve the Netherlands’ environment.

On 26 March 2015, we joined NLR and a large group of Dutch and foreign stakeholders in celebrating the opening the ACM Pilot Plant, a new step towards enhancing aerospace sustainability.

This ACM Pilot Plant is fully designed to achieve advances in automated manufacturing processes for composites by means of resin transfer moulding (RTM). In addition, the lab is optimising the manufacturing process in order to improve the quality of composites and make them less costly.

The ACM Pilot Plant was established through public-private cooperation between FLG and NLR, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and regional authorities. By teaming up with NLR and other partners, including the Netherlands Defence Force, universities and authorities, we can develop and advance our innovative ideas and technological knowhow, bringing it to market and staying a step ahead of our competitors. FLG cannot do this alone. As an industry, we need support in developing this kind of specialist expertise, which is why cooperation with knowledge centres like NLR is indispensable.

One great, practical example of a product that will be manufactured in high volume thanks to the ACM Pilot Plant is the composite drag brace for the F-35. This is the locking bar for the main landing gear. FLG developed this lightweight, maintenance-friendly component in collaboration with NLR. The ACM Pilot Plant will support businesses, design organisations and knowledge institutes in the Netherlands in their efforts to produce and develop innovative products of this kind. In so doing, we confirm that the manufacturing industry in the Netherlands is flourishing. Our knowledge economy cannot exist without a manufacturing industry, and vice versa.

The opening of the ACM Pilot Plant is a logical step following decades of close cooperation between FLG and NLR, based on shared ambitions and mutual trust. This promising step has been taken thanks to FLG’s consistency in composite design and analysis technology, coupled with the long-term vision of NLR in the field of new materials and manufacturing processes. That said, I sincerely hope this cooperative venture is just the beginning of the successful introduction and joint development of composites in landing gear, and that this gives rise to many new and exciting job opportunities.

Frank Mulders | President Fokker Landing Gear