05 January 2013

PFW Aerospace delivers an innovative lightweight tubing system for A350 XWB after been rescued by Airbus in Nov/2011.

PFW Aerospace has developed a plastic tubing system that slashes weight of A350 cargo drainage system. This new thermoplastic -PEEK polyetheretherketone- tubing system replaces the traditional metal pipes used to move condensation water away from unheated cargo areas. Thomas Kupfer, work package manager at PFW Aerospace in Speyer, Germany, reckons that moving from metallic tubing - PFW's long-time speciality - could cut the weight of the A350's section 13 and 14 cargo drainage system by up to 37%. Lightweight & thin wall VICTREX Pipes is the first alternative to metal tubing introduced to the Aerospace market, an industry benchmark.

“PFW Aerospace has been supplying metal tubing to the Aerospace industry for nearly 100 years. Given the increasing demands of the Aerospace industry to reduce weight we needed to identify alternatives to metal,” said Mr. Rupert Kästel, Vice President Sales and Marketing, PFW Aerospace AG. “We worked closely with Victrex for over 3 years involving them in every stage of the product development phase through to the qualification. Together we have successfully delivered an alternative to metal tubing and a next generation solution for commercial aircraft.”
A typical straight 1” PEEK pipe with an outer diameter OD 25.4 mm and 1 mm wall thickness weighs only 100 grams per meter without fittings, offering a weight reduction of up to 60% compared to an equivalent stainless steel straight pipe.
The first set of the new tubing are already installed in the MSN001 at Toulouse.

In November/2011 and to avoid disruption, Airbus rescued PFW Aerospace from financial crisis.
According to Airbus, the decision was made to ensure a continued supply of parts for Airbus programs and avoid an imminent liquidity crisis. Airbus closed in on a deal that landed them 51% of PFW Aerospace after paying €4m for a controlling stake. The company has its headquarters in Speyer, Germany, and employs a staff of 2200 people worldwide in a considerable number of locations.
Tom Williams, Airbus head of aircraft programmes, said it felt compelled to intervene because PFW “ran out of cash” and was “a critical supplier”, including on the A350 XWB. "Airbus as a major customer of PFW is ready to take over the company in its severe liquidity crisis. It is the objective to lead PFW out of the actual crisis".
PFW Aerospace is also manufacturing and supplying tubing system for A380 and Boeing 787.

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