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First Autoclave at Hexcel Burlington Plant Arrives

A new autoclave finally arrived this weekend at the Hexcel Burlington plant, where it will play a vital role in meeting the plant’s increasing demand for composite parts and structures for the aerospace industry.

Since leaving its manufacturer ASC Process Systems in California on May 3, the autoclave had been creeping down West Coast highways for more than 1,000 miles and often at night with an entourage of support trucks and highway patrol officers. Now that it has arrived in Burlington, plant employees will spend about two months installing and testing before it becomes fully operational. The autoclave will be used to cure composite parts manufactured at the plant for aerospace customers.

“Two other Hexcel plants have multiple, similar autoclaves, including our Kent plant, but this is the first for us in Burlington,” said plant manager Richie Hodges.

The 12-foot by 50-foot autoclave is so large that it required a specialized heavy-haul truck that is more than 330 feet in length with more than 150 wheels to carry and disperse the weight. Its transport included five squad car escorts, one truck to pull the trailer, two trucks to push the trailer, two escort trucks and two support trucks.

The Hexcel Burlington plant manufactures engineered core components from metallic and non-metallic honeycomb. Key applications for products made at the plant are commercial and defense aircraft, helicopters and aerospace engines, as well as industrial parts. It is located at 15062 Steele Road at the Port of Skagit.


About Hexcel -- Hexcel Corporation is a leading advanced composites company. It develops, manufactures and markets lightweight, high-performance structural materials, including carbon fibers, reinforcements, prepregs, honeycomb, matrix systems, adhesives and composite structures, used in commercial aerospace, space and defense and industrial applications such as wind turbine blades.

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