Fokker, NLR, Airborne and TU Delft start maintenance centre for composites

At Le Bourget Airshow 2015 the Dutch Composites Maintenance Centre agreement was signed between Fokker, NLR, Airborne and TU-Delft. The DCMC will initiate and support innovations in the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul of composite (aero)structures

“Repair and maintenance of composites components in military hardware is important for the Royal Netherlands Airforce to keep the systems in operation during deployments”, said General Sander Schnitger. “Another clear proof of the success of the last years founded Aerospace Cluster where the Royal Netherlands Airforce, industry and knowledge centres achieve innovative technological results by cooperation”

His notion sparked the initiative of the Aerospace Cluster to establish the Dutch Composites Maintenance Centre (DCMC) focussing on the development and testing of new maintenance repair and overhaul products, processes and services for composite (aero)structures. By bringing together knowledge, capabilities and infrastructure a bridge is created between fundamental research performed at institutes and applied technology developed by companies. Projects managed or performed by the DCMC are based on business cases with customers and have a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) between 4 to 6/7.

During Le Bourget Air Show in France, on June 16, 2015, the collaboration agreement for the Dutch Composites Maintenance Centre was signed by the founding fathers Fokker Services, NLR, Airborne Services and the faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology. The event at the Netherlands Aerospace Group pavilion was witnessed by representatives of the Royal Netherlands Airforce, the Dutch Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Maintenance Cluster

The DCMC knowledge and innovation centre will be located in the aerospace maintenance cluster around the Royal Netherlands Air Force base Woensdrecht. The ambition of the DCMC is to become an international leading and independent authority which initiates and supports the innovations in the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul of composite structures. This is done by guiding the different (inter)national innovation projects and execution of research and development programmes initiated by DCMC members.

Hans Büthker – CEO of Fokker Technologies, commented “Nowadays a major part of civil and military aircraft is built of composite materials, both in the airframe and engine. Technology and expertise to maintain & repair such components is limited. With the expertise in the DCMC available we will make a difference in this field”

The DCMC organisation will be a collaboration between first and second tier companies, OEMs and knowledge institutes, both from The Netherlands and abroad. Initially the centre will focus on the aerospace market, but during the further development spin-offs and spill-over into other markets will occur.

Aerospace cluster

Cooperation is the strength of the Aerospace Cluster. The core of the cluster is formed by the Royal Netherlands Air Force, NLR, Fokker Technologies, Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands and the faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft. The size and composition of the core team makes the cluster controllable, manageable and long reach. Projects that contribute to innovations in the field of military aerospace derive from the innovation agenda of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Depending on the subject and the necessary expertise the cluster involves other parties in the projects. The result is the perfect match in terms of cooperation and maximum value for the parties involved and the aerospace industry as a whole. For the Dutch knowledge economy provides the collaboration with educational institutions and industry knowledge great benefits. Collaboration is increasingly becoming the key to success in the current era.
Background companies

Fokker Services: this is an integrated, knowledge based services organisation that partners with manufacturers, owners and operators of aircraft in the continued competitive operation of their fleet by increasing technical dispatch reliability (TDR) and passenger comfort while reducing direct operating cost (DOC). Fokker Services BV is a company of the Fokker Technologies Holding.

NLR: The National Aerospace Laboratory NLR is the central institute for aerospace research in The Netherlands. NLR is an independent non-profit organisation and one of the Dutch Major Technological Institutes which performs a large part of the applied research each within its own specific technology field.

Airborne Services: Airborne is a company specialised in the design, manufacturing and maintenance of composite aero-structures. The group employs around 250 people and has facilities in The Netherlands and Spain. This particular business unit is active in maintenance and repair of composite structures, with a focus on rotor blades of military and civil helicopters.

TU-Delft: The faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s largest faculties devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. It is the only research and education institute in the Netherlands engaged in research and teaching that is directly related to the aerospace engineering sector. It covers the whole spectrum of aerospace engineering subjects, and explores vital related fields such as wind energy. The faculty is home to around 2,500 BSc and MSc students, 214 PhD candidates and 27 professors supported by scientific staff.


For more information, please contact Rob Bosgraaf,