Composite materials can be processed into components and structures in many ways, depending on the materials used, the complexity of the geometry and the number of parts required. One of the limitations to the widespread uptake of composites has been the relatively slow manufacturing cycle time, when compared to alternatives such as metal stamping.
To meet the growing demand for air travel, the aerospace industry is planning to dramatically increase the production volumes of single-aisle aircraft. Current thermoset autoclave technology cannot realistically meet these new targets and there is a strong demand for faster manufacturing processes. The automotive industry is also in a similar position, driven by the need to reduce vehicle weight to improve fuel economy.
Here, clearly, there is a need for a step change in production rates in order to make the '1 minute composite car'.
TWI has considerable experience in the processing of thermoplastics dating back over 25 years. The processing of thermoplastic composites is a key technology of TWI, not only from a single part manufacturing process but also incorporating joining of parts into assemblies by welding techniques such as induction. Recently, TWI has developed a capability in using microwave technology to reduce the cure time of thermoset composites and can now offer world leading innovation for both thermoset and thermoplastic composite manufacture.
The benefits of meeting these industry challenges are clear; new markets for composites are opened up, better quality parts are produced, and the benefits of composites are fully exploited. This may be by realising a dramatic weight saving or by being able to produce a part of previously unachievable geometric complexity.
Access our weekly Plastics and Composites industry updates
For more information, please contact us.