Airbus announced it has created the first-ever single-piece composite center wing box. According to the company, the wing box leverages advances in composite technologies, including the molding of complex parts combined with continuous fiber.

The company is calling it “an important evolution of [a] structural component that provides support and rigidity for an aircraft’s wings.”

The new technology was designed by research and technology teams at Airbus’ Toulouse and Nantes facilities in France as an upgrade to conventional multi-part center wing boxes. Airbus says advantages of the new version including a 20 percent reduction in manufacturing costs.

According to project leader Denis Soula, Airbus was assisted in the wing box project – which already has demonstrated its feasibility – by STRUCTIL and JAMCO, developers of preform production technology; and carbon fiber lay-up specialist CORIOLIS.

The next objective is to prepare the single-piece composite center wing box for industrialization using a full-scale demonstrator, with the goal of readying it for use on next-generation aircraft. Airbus believe the project “holds great promise for future aircraft.”