Global composites manufacturer Hexcel has established a joint venture (JV) with China-based aerospace parts manufacturer Future Aerospace to open a materials testing lab in Shanghai, China.

The new Shanghai Future Aerospace Hexcel Commercial Composite Testing facility will provide services to commercial aerospace industries in China and the Asia Pacific.

Scheduled to be operational by September, the facility will serve as an aerospace standard material test laboratory to facilitate material qualification and new programme certification.

“This investment is in response to local customer demand.”

The lab will be equipped with solutions to produce composite coupons for mechanical testing in line with the work being performed by Hexcel for the aerospace industry at its facilities in Europe and the US.

It will also engage in the testing of composite laminate specimens, material qualifications, and support for customers’ supply chains in China.

Future Aerospace chairman Han Hua said: “The collaboration enables Future Aerospace and Hexcel to play a key role in supporting the development and implementation of composite material applications in commercial aerospace industries in China for both Chinese and global aerospace customers.”

Future Aerospace primarily manufactures aircraft and aerospace engine components.

Fully owned by Xinjiang Machinery Research Institute (MRI), the company serves Honeywell, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China Aerospace Science and Technology (CASC) and other groups.

Hexcel Europe, Middle East and Asia Aerospace president Thierry Merlot said:  “This investment is in response to local customer demand and demonstrates our commitment to support the commercial aerospace industry’s growing use of composite materials in China.”

In March, Hexcel signed a strategic alliance with Arkema to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector.

The alliance will see the combination of Hexcel’s expertise in carbon fibre with Arkema’s experience in polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) production.