Manufacturers, designers and engineers recognize the ability of composite materials to produce high quality, durable, cost-effective products. Composites solve problems, raise performance levels and enable the development of new innovations. Here are some helpful resources to learn more.

Why Thermoplastics are the Future of Rotor Blades, Propellers, and Drone Blades

The aeronautics industry has traditionally been one of the slowest to adopt new technologies and evolve to meet changing demands. Because of the extremely long design and development cycles for aircraft, as well as their product lives that span decades, industry leaders have faced challenges innovating their manufacturing processes, implementing sustainability initiatives, and making other much-needed changes. 

Rotor blades, drone blades, and propellers are examples of a product category that has been slow to evolve to new technologies. The aerospace industry has long sought a more cost-effective solution for rotor blades – there are many rotor blades on a single aircraft, and they have to be replaced frequently. 

Rotor blades are also an optimal part of the aircraft to test new technology – since they’re not baked into the fuselage itself, manufacturers can afford to take on the inherent risk of testing new materials. Taking these advantages into account, Re:Build Oribi Composites is working with aerospace companies to manufacture and deploy advanced thermoplastic composites rotor blades. 

Aircraft rotor blades are an ideal thermoplastics application. Thermoplastic composite parts are lightweight and extremely durable, which are critical for rotors and blades. Traditionally, composite rotor blades have been very expensive to produce due to the labor and time intensive manufacturing process; thermoplastics significantly reduce both the time and effort required. 

Re:Build Oribi Composities has transformed the thermoplastic composite part manufacturing industry through new production technologies that allow them to manufacture composite components (such as rotor blades) at a cost comparable to traditional materials. 

How thermoplastics can transform rotor blades, propellers, and drone blades

There are several reasons why thermoplastics are the ideal material for rotor blades. These include:

  1. Lightweight. Weight is one of the most important factors of any aerospace component. In addition, the aerospace industry is undergoing a process of electrification – and electric propulsion technology is extremely sensitive to weight. Thermoplastics are a key enabler to removing weight while providing the same high level of performance. 
  2. Strength and durability. Thermoplastics have extremely high strength-to-weight ratios, making them ideal for aeronautical applications. Thermoplastic rotor blades are tough enough to withstand high winds and other wear and tear, without having to be constantly replaced or repaired. 
  3. Extremely high production rates. The automation of thermoplastic part production through new manufacturing technologies allows for production rates comparable to traditional materials. 
  4. Reduces dependence on expensive machinery. Traditional rotor blade manufacturing requires large, complex, and expensive machines. Using a new thermoplastic manufacturing process eliminates the need for expensive machinery and batch processes, lowering the cost per unit while improving flow and the production rate. 
  5. Cost effective. Thermoplastic blades and propellers have tremendous performance advantages compared to traditional materials and are cost-competitive. The result is an improvement in aircraft performance. 
  6. Sustainable.Sustainability is a major push in the aircraft manufacturing industry, especially as it becomes inceasingly electrified. CO2 emissions have doubled over the last 20 years. Aerospace currently accounts for 2.5% of those emissions, but unless they are able to keep pace with the automotive and other high-emission industries that are implementing sustainable innovations, that 2.5% could quickly grow to 5% or worse. 

Electrification creates more carbon-efficient, cleaner aircraft, and thermoplastics are an essential part of that transformation. Traditional aircraft components are relegated directly to the landfill after their lifespan is complete, but thermoplastics are easy to break down and repurpose.  

The takeaways

Thermoplastic rotor blades, propellers, and drone blads allow aerospace manufacturers to take advantage of the performance of advanced composite materials. New thermoplastic composite manufacturing technologies allow Re:Build to create products at production rates and costs comparable to that of traditional materials. If you want to see how thermoplastics can transform your blades, contact the Re:Build Oribi Composites team.

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