COMAC is the main organization that is facilitating the building of large passenger aircraft in China. The company is mandated with the overall planning and development of trunk liner and regional jet programs, as well as the industrialization of civil aircraft. It is building the new C919 jet, which will use aluminum-lithium alloys and composites in its airframe structures.
COMAC also recently signed a long-term collaboration agreement with Bombardier. Initially, the companies will collaborate on four projects that recognize the similarities between the C919 and Bombardier's CSeries family of commercial airliners. One of the projects is developing standards and specifications for the use of aluminum-lithium in aircraft.
Several different companies and organizations jointly own COMAC, including the Aluminum Corporation of China, also known as China Aluminum Corp. (CHINALCO or CHINCO). CHINALCO has reportedly announced the third generation of its 540mm aluminum-lithium alloy for use in large aircraft.
The company has spent several years in R&D working on aluminum alloys for China's aerospace industry. The new alloy represents a breakthrough for China, and for its aerospace industry, since the production of aluminum-lithium has long been dominated by suppliers in other countries, the company's senior managers said.
@sensorpro: Aluminum isbeing produced in the U.S., and scientists in the U.S.are working on developing lighter and stronger aluminum alloys. In fact, Chinese scientists in the U.S. are working on developing lighter and stronger aluminum alloys. Particularly when it comes to research, I don't think innovation in one country is an impediment to innovation in another country. It's not a zero-sum game.
In my opinion your statement is very purist. It is nice and dandy to have partners in other parts of the world, however do not forget who these partners are. Not all are our friends in heart. With all the problems of Chinese stealing secrets from numerous coutries, serious drive to increase and make stronger their military, air force and navy, does california really need to buy steel from them. Can't we find scientists in US to work on lighter and more durable Aluminum. Don't we have refinaries that can produce it?!
We need to stop looking for fast savings by moving abroad, and should start supporting our own industries.Not always the basic commercial interest should take over the decision process.
I do feel that we are loosing our knowhow and industrial power to other countries, and it is not smart.
The world doesn't revolve around the United States. China is a huge and growing market, and aerospace companies would be foolish to ignore it. There is also a tremendous amount of talent in Chinese universities and research institutions, not to mention money for research. Boeing and Bombardier are engaging in these partnerships because they clearly think it is in their commercial interest to do so.
A lot of people seem to be saying that the Chinese only know how to copy, not how to innovate; that the quality of Chinese products is always inferior; that the Chinese are avaricious and can't be trusted, etc.
Besides being completely unfair generalizations, these are also the same things which people in Britain and Germany said about the U.S. in the 1800s.
Research into how to make commercial aircraft more fuel efficient, develop improved lightweight aluminum alloys, etc. is a good thing, no matter what country it takes place in.
I have to admit that I'm also a little leery of sharing technology with a government and society that has such a horrible history of ignoring intellectual property and copyright laws. Both consumer and semiconductor sectors are flooded with pirated goods and I shudder to think that these same companies will be manufacturing aircraft and avionics with the blessing of Boeing. This is one of the few industries where the US still has a strong presence, and I hate to think that we would give away the keys to the kingdom for a little instant profit.
Beth, I'm completely with you on this and have the same concerns. I've often heard it said that China can manufacture really good quality products or really low-quality products, depending on what they are asked to do and how much they are paid. That's true in general of contract manufacturing. However, for things like airplanes and baby's formula I think there's a lot of cause for concern with how strictly, and consistently, quality standards are enforced.
Cheaper source of manufacturing, maybe, but what about quality issues. Given the track record regarding poor quality for simple things like children's toys and food products, I'm not so sure I'd want to get on an aircraft produced in a factory that isn't governed by the same viligent standards that the U.S. and other countries uphold.
I agree with you TJ, China's dismal record on IP rights makes all this sound like it may be good for Boeing in the short term and not so good for the US in the long term, whether this becomes a new source of cheaper aircraft for Boeing or not.
How can automakers, aerospace contractors, and other OEMs get new metal alloys that are stronger, harder, and can survive ever higher temperatures? One way is to redesign their crystalline structures at the nanoscale and microscale.
Although a lot of the excitement about 3D printing and additive manufacturing surrounds its ability to make end-products and functional prototypes, some often ignored applications are the big improvements that can come by using it for tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
A fun and informative tour you can attend at the upcoming Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis, MD&M Minneapolis, and other events there, is the Materials Innovation Tour on Wednesday afternoon. I'll be leading it.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies.
You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived.
So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.