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Application Development at NIAR ATLAS in Wichita, Kansas

Defining the Future of Aviation Through Research and Prototyping 

2020-10 ATLAS Electroimpact crop

Located at the heart of Wichita State University in Kansas, our Manufacturing Innovation Center at NIAR’s Advanced Technologies Lab for Aerospace Systems (ATLAS) was created to push the boundaries of aircraft manufacturing research. NIAR’s impressive facilities support manufacturing research and development for thermosets and thermoplastics used in both commercial and defense aviation applications. Solvay’s partnership with NIAR enables access to all composite manufacturing equipment for internal and customer projects.  



2020-10 ATLAS photos by Hutton (25)

The capabilities installed at NIAR ATLAS include from material manufacturing to part manufacturing and testing at large scale. Using automated and high-rate processing with smart and agile manufacturing technologies, Solvay and NIAR engineers work hand-in-hand with customers to test ideas and innovative structures in real time. These capabilities help to increase the adoption of composites, and allow aviation companies to meet increased performance and efficiency targets. Our ATLAS researchers and engineers develop unique solutions using industry-leading technologies to enable our partners to maximize efficiency, productivity and quality. 


Key Innovation Capabilities - Material Production, Composite Manufacturing, Advanced Manufacturing

Virtual Engineering

  • Manufacturing simulation
  • FEA and failure analyses

Material Production

  • Prepregging (Thermoset & Thermoplastic)
  • Material Slitting

New and prototype materials can be quickly manufactured, tested, and optimized through the use of the double-belt press hot-melt prepreg line and prepreg slitting equipment. The new materials can then be fed directly to one of many AFP/ATL robotic machines to conduct manufacturing trials. The ability to have direct feedback from each step is crucial to optimizing material development.

2022-04-19 ATLAS 2

Composite Manufacturing

  • Automated Fiber Placement (AFP), Automated Tape Laying (ATL), Hand lay-up
  • Fiber Patch Placement (FPP)
  • Thermoforming (TF), Injection Molding (IM), High-Pressure Resin Transfer Molding (HP-RTM), Over Molding (OM)
  • Compression Molding (CM)
  • Autoclave (800 ℉ & 200 psi)

Access to a myriad of different equipment allows Solvay to accurately match material systems and manufacturing techniques to our customer requirements and capabilities.  This also allows Solvay to offer our customers alternative manufacturing approaches that might not have otherwise been possible.

Advanced Manufacturing

  • 3D Tool Printing (AM) + Automated Fiber Placement (AFP)
  • Advanced Machining (UT)
  • Tool-less Layup (Dual Robot)

The state-of-the-art equipment at NIAR ATLAS provides the capability to produce very complex parts.  The equipment allows Solvay to operate in an environment where the imagination is the only limit to what can be manufactured. 

Part Quality Management

  • AS9100D / ISO9001 Certified
  • CAMUS 3D 
  • X-Ray CT (XCT), MAUS (UT), Acoustic Emission (AE), Pulse Thermography (PT), Laser Shearography (LS), Digital Image Correlation (DIC)
  • Structural Part Testing

NIAR ATLAS is truly a one stop destination for all aerospace prototyping and research based projects. Parts can come directly off the drawing board and be laid up, cured, machined, inspected, structurally tested, and delivered to the customer all in one facility. Our partnership with NIAR directly benefits our customers by helping to optimize the materials and processes in an efficient and timely manner through the utilization of state-of-the-art equipment and personnel.

Watch Discover Solvay NIAR Manufacturing Innovation Center in Wichita, Kansas on YouTube.