April 09, 2018
ORLANDO - In an undisputed world's first, Universal Asset Management (UAM) has completely recycled carbon fiber from commercial aircraft. This monumental milestone in sustainability firmly entrenches UAM as the global leader in complete aircraft recycling. To illustrate this achievement, UAM will present a 3D-printed engine stand manufactured from carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) from commercial aircraft at the three-day MRO Americas conference. The resulting second-generation carbon fiber material is fit as raw resource for industrial use. As such, it becomes a feasible supply for advanced additive manufacturing supply chains, utilized by automotive and other manufacturing industries in need of cost-competitive carbon fiber.
Of all the structural elements comprising an aircraft, carbon fiber is the most arduous to recycle. Efforts during the past fifteen (15) years have not yielded a viable solution that wholly completes the circular economy of carbon fiber back into manufacturing. It is with vigor that UAM undertook the challenge. Now, its success opens the door to possibilities even beyond aviation, paving the way to total aircraft recyclability. UAM's proprietary engineering in the use of CFRP from retired aircraft is a harbinger of future products under development by UAM's Innovation Technology Team. CFRP use is on the rise, as today's modern aircraft are now made of approximately 50% composite material, compared to aircraft from the 1970's which were manufactured with less than 1% of carbon-based materials. The increasing availability of composites in younger retiring aircraft is an opportunity that is leveraged with UAM's proprietary techniques.
The UAM design team is led by Keri Wright, Chief Executive Officer. CFRP was collected through UAM's proprietary process, filtered for purity and refined into pellets, to therefore be used as raw material for 3D-printing. The innovative and bold process applies material science and advanced manufacturing techniques pioneered by UAM's Innovation Technology Team. Ms. Wright, along with UAM's Executive Leadership team, will be available at Booth (#757) at MRO Americas' Exhibition Hall for inquiries.
"As a world's first, this achievement extends beyond aviation. UAM is the only company to harvest CFRP from end-of-life aircraft to be re-introduced to manufacturing. We are an innovative technology company that is honored to be recognized as a leader in recycling and sustainability," said Ms. Wright. "This unique and proprietary process is an industry first in the total recyclability of aircraft. The possibilities of our applications are only limited by one's own imagination. UAM, along with its parent company Aircraft Recycling International Limited (ARI), remains committed as the global leader in complete aircraft recycling solutions."
By proving that aviation components can be re-born out of composites from end-of-life aircraft, UAM has taken the technical to technology. Options for the >12,000 aircraft being retired in the next 20 years are boundless with this advancement. The successful delivery of the engine stand is tangible proof of the viability of using sustainable, digital manufacturing solutions in the aviation industry. UAM will be discussing recycling opportunities and benefits with both aviation and non-aviation companies in the months following MRO Americas.