New York-based Argosy International and Xian Aircraft (XAC) have formed a Chinese joint venture company to produce honeycomb core composites for Chinese and potentially other Asian manufacturers.
Argosy, which produces chemicals and composite materials for aircraft manufacturers worldwide, says a 3,720m2 (40,000ft2) joint venture factory will open in Xian in July. Argosy says it will be the first factory of its kind in Asia and will allow Chinese manufacturers to procure raw materials domestically rather than import them.
Airbus, Boeing and other manufacturers are rapidly expanding their use of factories owned by China Aviation Industries (AVIC) such as XAC to supply components. By offering core composites locally, Argosy and XAC believe they can reduce the cost of components and shorten the supply chain.
The new joint venture company also hopes to later sell composites to manufacturers in other Asian countries. While original equipment manufacturers are steadily outsourcing more components to low-cost Asian countries, with the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 expected to include record high Asian content, the raw materials are generally produced in North America, Europe and Japan.
The Xian facility represents new competition to Hexcel, believed to be the largest supplier of core composites. Argosy does not produce core composites but last week it opened an aerospace paint factory in Shanghai.
Source: Flight International