Messier-Bugatti-Dowty inaugurates two test rigs in Villeurbanne and celebrates 30 years of carbon innovation

Messier-Bugatti-Dowty célèbre 30 ans d’innovation carbone et inaugure deux bancs d’essais à Villeurbanne

Villeurbanne, June 5, 2015

The Messier-Bugatti-Dowty (Safran) plant in Villeurbanne, near Lyon, produces carbon brake disks for both aircraft and automobiles, is today celebrating its 30th anniversary, and also unveiling two new brake test rigs.

These new test facilities, officially inaugurated by Vincent Mascré, Chief Executive Officer of Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, are primarily intended to test the type of carbon material produced by the company worldwide. They will be used to measure the reliability and effectiveness of brakes for all types of commercial, business and military aircraft, under all operating conditions.

Villeurbanne is a major contributor to applied research on friction materials and an international center of excellence in carbon composites. It was able to count on financial support from the Rhône-Alpes region and the City of Lyon for this major investment, worth 5 million euros.

According to Messier-Bugatti-Dowty Chief Executive Officer Vincent Mascré, "The new test stands are an important part of the plant's technological development for the long haul. In fact, this site already hosts a major research center. Our new test rigs will also further anchor production-related activities in Villeurbanne, based on the development of new skills and the creation of new jobs."

The inauguration of these new facilities comes at the same time as Villeurbanne's 30th anniversary. In 1985 it turned out the first disks for carbon brakes on aircraft, an alternative to the steel brakes that were then standard equipment. This milestone also allowed Vincent Mascré to remind guests at the ceremony of Messier-Bugatti-Dowty's key role in the aviation industry in the Rhône-Alpes region. He said, "Today, we are celebrating 30 years of an exciting human story, bringing together the deep technological excellence of our researchers with our long-standing production expertise. The Villeurbanne plant also draws on the long tradition of textile know-how in the Lyon area, showing that history and tradition can play a role in driving modern success and innovation."

Since being introduced in 1986 on the Airbus A310, the application of carbon brakes has continued to expand on commercial jetliners, and they are now used on more than half of these airplanes. Materials have also developed over the years, becoming even lighter and stronger. The latest generation of carbon-carbon1 composites, produced in Villeurbanne since the end of 2014, will reduce carbon wear by 30% compared with the current generation.

1: Carbon-carbon is a composite material consisting of carbon fiber reinforcement in a matrix of graphite. It is well-suited to structural applications at high temperatures, or where thermal shock resistance is needed.

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