If you are a supplier of composite materials and you want to find new customers or new applications, then we can help you. We have the contacts at OEMs, as well as intermediate molders who are interested in learning about new materials that can enhance their competitive edge. If your company makes a fiber or resin material that improves properties, shortens cycle time, or lowers cost to manufacture a composite product, then we can open doors for you.
Test Plaques for Datasheet Development
New materials need professional detail oriented datasheets in order to be accepted into a manufacturing environment, or even tested in new applications. Our experience can help you make the best and most consistent flat panels, and water-jet cut test coupons for a quick turn-around time for your data.
Having done the preliminary research which has lead to four international patents so far, we have the experience to guide you through this process. Our experience in carbon nanotube dispersion and the development of new product form factors will help shortcut your time to market. Our experience developing new manufacturing processes for carbon fiber will help you build a prototype and do the necessary research to prove your concept to investors, yourself, or the USPTO.
Carbon fiber is not black aluminum and dispersion of carbon nanotubes are not the same as making chocolate milk. Therefore, it is important for OEMs to consider the end products to be developed with the manufacturing process in mind. In the case of making a product out of carbon fiber, one rarely is able to simply take a CAD model that was developed for an aluminum or injection molded part, and just make it the same way out of carbon fiber. We have the experience and CAD software that can take your existing design and make simple modifications that will make it feasible and efficient to then be made out of carbon fiber.
Once the product undergoes the necessary redesign for manufacture in CF, then the ply stacking and core cutting can be developed into a pre-cut kit available from a variety of suppliers. FEA services are also available when needed, and at various price points, depending on how thoroughly you need it done.
Low Cost Tooling
The best tooling for composites will always be the machined steel or nickel shell tools, but for smaller production runs of less than 100 to 200 parts per year, then consider VARTM composite tools made from 50% recycled carbon fiber for a fraction of the price, usually 1/3 to 1/4 the price of steel tooling. The tools can also be made with resistance heaters built into the surface of the tool, so that curing can be done without an oven Even steel tools have their issues, like the difference in CLTE between steel and carbon fiber is significant enough so that the tools need to be cut smaller than they will be when they reach the temperature at which the parts will be cured. Then, the parts may need to be de-molded while they are still hot, adding another layer of complexity to the manufacturing process.
Depending on how they are surface coated, and how well they are maintained, tools made of recycled CF may last for 250 parts or 1,000 parts. Still, at a fraction of the price, carbon tools have the same CLTE as the parts being molded, and that makes production a lot simpler.
Most of the research we have done in the past is the property of the companies that paid for it, but by having that experience we can save our clients months, and sometimes years, of time and effort and get them up to date immediately, rather than spending untold dollars on trial and error work that may never bear fruit. The types of research we can help with include the following:
We have SPC experience, Lean Manufacturing Training and direct hands-on experience trouble-shooting production problems of carbon fiber products for the auto industry.
Supply Chain Management
Finding suppliers for molding services, equipment, prototypes, tools and engineering that fit your needs and budget requires experience and worldwide contacts. This is our specialty.
If you have a composite project that needs to be managed, but the expertise to manage this technology falls outside the core competencies of your own company, we can help manage that project. We can bring all the suppliers together, and work with an interdisciplinary team to bring a project to the next stage.
Model making services, CAD development, 3D printing, and mold making services are also available to our clients. We have a large vacuum oven, and several flat datum plane surfaces that can be utilized for many applications.
Flat Plaque Fabrication for Testing
We have three flat plates of different sizes that can be utilized to test the strength and stiffness of a laminate that is proposed to be used for any products the customer may anticipate using the manufacturing method to be used. We work with several testing labs to run any test the customer may need.