The editors at CW have been lucky enough to visit many unique facilities over the years. These tours have provided an in-depth look into these companies’ manufacturing processes, their state-of-the-art equipment and technologies.

The result is our popular Plant Tour column where readers can get a first-person look into these facilities. What follows is a list of the top 10 CW plant tours, according to Google Analytics. 

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10. Plant tour: Hexcel, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.

Hexcel Salt Lake City carbon fiber lines 13 and 14
Photo Credit: Hexcel

The scale, precision, speed and quality of carbon fiber manufacture has evolved substantially since the material’s modern introduction in the late 1960s. Hexcel offers a glimpse of the state of the art today.


 9. Plant tour: AvCarb, Lowell, Mass., U.S.

Composites are often selected for their structural properties, but at AvCarb, innovation in carbon fiber-based products has driven fuel cell technology advances for decades.

ATC is at the top of the list when it comes to thermoplastic composites and aerostructures manufacturing. CW explains why.

Exterior of ATC Manufacturing
Photo Credit: ATC

 7. Plant tour: National Institute for Aviation Research, Wichita, Kan., U.S.


NIAR, located at Wichita State University in the heart of the American aerospace manufacturing industry, has evolved to become a premier hub of teaching, R&D, creativity and innovation.

NIAR tour, main building, Wichita State University

Photo Credit: NIAR

6. Plant tour: Dowty Propellers, Gloucester, U.K.

Transforming decades of design and RTM production reliability into more sustainable, next-generation composite propellers.

Photo Credit: all images: Dowty Propellers

5.  Plant tour: Victrex Composites Solutions, Bristol, Rhode Island, U.S.

De-risking thermoplastic composites at industrial scale via hybrid overmolding.

Photo Credit: Victrex

4.  Plant tour: Bucci Composites, Faenza, Italy

A stalwart in Italy’s “Motor Valley” opens its doors for a discussion and exploration of the company’s history in composites manufacturing for high-performance cars and other applications.

Efficient, high-quality, well-controlled composites manufacturing at volume is the mantra for this 3D weaving specialist.

Albany Engineered Composites woven LEAP fan blades

 Photo Credit: all images, Albany Engineered Composites

2. Plant tour: Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita, Kan., U.S.

Spirit AeroSystems was an established aerospace supplier when it earned that distinction, winning the contract for the Boeing 787’s Section 41. Now its sights are set on the next generation of aircraft.

fuselage section

Photo credit: Spirit AeroSystems

1.  Plant tour: Qarbon Aerospace, Milledgeville, Ga. and Red Oak, Texas, U.S.

Veteran aerostructures Tier 1 transforms into 21st century leader in thermoplastic composites and multiple new markets.

Photo Credit: all images: Qarbon Aerospace

For all of CW’s Plant Tours, visit our Plant Tours page

Landscape Photo Credit: Left: Dowty Propellers, middle: Spirit AeroSystems, right: Albany Engineered Composites