Shims Trim Weight From Superjumbo Jet

Feb. 21, 2008
Use of light-but-durable shims help the Airbus A380 double-decker airliner shed 17.5 lb/plane.

The Superjumbo jet will take off weighing more than 1.2 million lb. But every pound carries a premium. Even the laminated shims got scrutinized for weight. (Laminated shims are ultrathin sheets used individually or several together to fill gaps or spaces between machined components.)

Stainless-steel shims are strong and fire resistant, but they are also heavy. Airbus eventually went with X.fiber, a family of materials from Lameco in Santa Monica that are light but with heat resistances close to that of steel.

X.fiber shims are made of woven sheets of various combinations of glass, ceramics, carbon, and aramide. Proprietary blends of expoxide or kyanite hold them together. They come in thicknesses of 0.002, 0.003, and 0.004 in. Glass and ceramic shims are inherently nonflammable, and carbon and aramide-based shims are rendered fire resistant by the lamination process.

Airbus figures that for every 10 flights, the new shims save the fuel needed to carry one passenger (175 lb). The company says the shims save 0.125 gallons/100 flight miles. The laminated shims also save time in assembly because they peel by hand. And they are reusable, unlike metal shims. Plus, the new shims don’t cause finger cuts, a frequent problem with metal versions.

Sponsored Recommendations

MOVI-C Unleashed: Your One-Stop Shop for Automation Tasks

April 17, 2024
Discover the versatility of SEW-EURODRIVE's MOVI-C modular automation system, designed to streamline motion control challenges across diverse applications.

The Power of Automation Made Easy

April 17, 2024
Automation Made Easy is more than a slogan; it signifies a shift towards smarter, more efficient operations where technology takes on the heavy lifting.

Lubricants: Unlocking Peak Performance in your Gearmotor

April 17, 2024
Understanding the role of lubricants, how to select them, and the importance of maintenance can significantly impact your gearmotor's performance and lifespan.

From concept to consumption: Optimizing success in food and beverage

April 9, 2024
Identifying opportunities and solutions for plant floor optimization has never been easier. Download our visual guide to quickly and efficiently pinpoint areas for operational...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!