STRATA facility, built and qualified in July 2010, comprised of 31,500 m2 productive floor space:
Strata’s laboratory provides mechanical and physical testing of all critical materials which enter the production process. This laboratory is qualified by both Strata’s key customers as well as international regulatory authorities to ensure that materials such as the glass or carbon fiber are suitable for use.
Composite Honeycomb Machining
The Core Cutting room is responsible for the machining of all honeycomb core used in production. The purpose of a core in the manufacturing process is to increase the laminate’s stiffness by effectively ‘thickening’ it with a low-density material. This provides the products with a dramatic increase in sturdiness whilst adding very little weight, this being a primary objective in the aerospace industry.
Contamination Controlled Area - CCA
Strata has invested in state-of-art Contamination Controlled Area, or often referred to as a ‘Clean Room’. The Strata CCA is 4000 sqm and is designed to ISO Class 8 specifications meaning the air is filtered 10 times per hour whilst temperature, relative humidity and dust particle count are tightly controlled and monitored 24/7.
Prepreg materials (glass and carbon fiber) are cut to size by Strata’s three ply-cutting machines, to the engineering drawings with an accuracy of +/- 1mm. These plys are then delivered to the lay-up stations where a laser projection system shows the Aerospace Technicians the precise location of where the ply is to be laid inside the mold tool. This process is repeated several times with several compactions using vacuum pressure to ensure that there is no air between the different layers.
On completion of the lay-up process, the part is again placed under vacuum pressure and prepared for the autoclave cure cycle. The vacuum bag is checked for leaks before leaving the clean room and must not show loss of pressure more than 0.2 bar in 5 minutes.
The properties and quality of the aerostructures parts produced by Strata are 99% dependent on the work which occurs in the CCA thus the cleanliness and accuracy are of great importance.
Autoclaves use a very precise combination of heat, pressure and vacuum to transform the prepreg materials to a very strong and sturdy part.
These machines use Nitrogen as it is an inert gas therefore not promoting combustion within the Autoclave cure process. During the cure process, pressure of up to 10 bars is applied under a temperature ramp-up of up to 250 degrees centigrade for approximately six hours.
Strata’s four 5-Axis CNC Machines (Computer Numerical Control) are responsible for the trimming of all products down to the specifications called for by the customer. These machines are capable of cutting up to 65 meters per minute and are accurate to 0.02mm, the average thickness of a human hair.
Non Destructive Testing (NDT) is used to confirm the Quality and conformity of the bonded products produced in the CCA. Methods in use include A-Scan, 3 axis C-Scan, 10 Axis C scan, X-Ray and manual tap testing. In this process Strata can determine the quality of the products, meeting the standards set by the customers’ specifications.
Strata recognizes that there is more to paint than meets the eye. The paint scheme applied on the aerostructure products is not just a statement of our customers’ brand, it also protects the product from the elements in vastly varying environments which aircraft must operate.
Strata’s state-of-the-art paint facilities are responsible for the application of primer, anti-static/lighting strike protection, as well as the high finish final paint.
The Strata Assembly Hall is where all products undergo the final fittings of metallic parts, seals and any other sub-assembly. The Technicians here are responsible for the drilling, assembling and interchangeability checks for all products, thus ensuring that the product will fit onto the aircraft. Considerable efforts have been made by Strata to ensure that lean manufacturing principles are adhered to in an effort to reduce the production hours whilst at the same time ensuring an environment which is user-friendly for the Technicians. .