Multi-Axial Fabrics High-Production Composite Factory Opens in California

17 December 2004

Multi-Axial Inc. have issued details of their new production facility designed for high-volume production of commercial composite materials which is due to open soon in California, USA.

Multi-Axial assert that they will have the world's largest production capacity for converting their two internationally patented and trade marked product lines. They are marketed under the brand names of StructurPly Engineered Thermoplastic Prepregs and Reinforcement Architectures (preforms) as well as, TowStrand Engineered Selective Reinforcements.

The new 25,000 square foot facility will have an annual conversion capacity of more than 25 million pounds of StructurPly and TowStrand products that are targeted for the high-growth global and commercial market sectors.

The Multi-Axial family of StructurPly Engineered Multiaxial Thermoplastic Prepreg products has balanced physical and mechanical properties for both primary and secondary structural applications. The StructurPly Engineered Multiaxial Reinforcement Architectures (performs) were designed and fabricated with up to 24 plies in thickness for the following applications: RTM and the many related process techniques, wet lay-up fabrication techniques and as precursors for the thermoset prepreggers to use to make and sell multiaxial thermoset resin prepreg on their equipment.

The way-of-the-future StructurPly family of products has an inherent characteristic that reduces the fabrication cost up to 60% of the composite components: namely, materials are supplied to the customer that are ready to be placed on the cure form eliminating the need for ply cutting or lay-up.

The TowStrand Engineered Selective Reinforcement products were designed to provide the most effective means of selectively reinforcing snowboards, hockey sticks and engineered wood products such as GluLam beams for building construction and many other applications.

The products will be manufactured on tailored machinery that collimates, prestresses (keeps fibres straight), and spreads the reinforcement fibres into a web up to 63 inches wide and maintains fibre areal weight ranging from 70 to 600 Gms per ply. The wide range of fibre areal weight per individual ply allows the engineer to design the lightest weight and most efficient composite structure at the very lowest fabrication cost. The web of fibres are pulled through the machine's heat, pressure and cooling source at production speed ranging up to 300 feet per minute under a highly controlled process.

The conversion process includes: Aramid, Basalt, Carbon, E-glass, R-glass, S2-glass, Vectran, and hybrids of these fibres. Other special fibres are also used to make products. The fibre orientation can be made in uniaxial or the combination of uniaxial and any angle degree of biaxial, triaxial, quadraxial, and multiaxial directions as required by the customer.

Century Design Corporation of San Diego, California (owned by machine designer and builder for the global composites industry, Bob Basso) has been selected to build the unique multi-million dollar machinery.

Multi-Axial started the research and development phase of its product line in May of 2003 and completed this task in June, 2004 at the combined total cost of $1.2 million dollars. In August 2004, ""serial"" production began with the proof-of-concept machinery at their Huntington Beach, California facility. Multi-Axial Fabrics will maintain the Huntington Beach facility until the new high-speed machinery is delivered to the new facility.

Multi-Axial Fabrics, Inc. located in Huntington Beach, California produces a family of engineered non-woven composite fabrics that replace the existing ""aerospace or conventional"" woven fabrics and collimated unidirectional tapes that have been traditionally used with thermoset matrix resins.

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