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Cytec and Surface Generation Trials Highlight Step-Change in Carbon Fibre Manufacturing

20 November 2012

Trials conducted by Cytec’s Industrial Materials and Surface Generation have demonstrated a significant advance in the production of carbon fibre-reinforced composite parts.

Testing using Cytec’s LTM carbon fibre tooling and MTM44-1 structural prepreg material revealed that Surface Generation’s ‘Production to Functional Specifications’ (PtFS) process provided significantly greater regional control than traditional autoclave and oven curing and out-performed the other methods across a range of temperature, cycle time and energy consumption metrics. Surface generation says;

  • Its process, in conjunction with the LTM tooling, used a quarter of the energy required by an autoclave to cure parts and half of the energy required for a traditional oven cure.
  • The LTM tool-face temperature measurements were consistently within 0.5 °C to 2 °C of specified levels, using localised control of energy input to suit varying component thickness which is not possible with autoclave and oven cure processes.

PtFS encompasses a range of active thermal management technologies, allowing temperatures to be precisely controlled and varied to the exact requirements of each mould area and process stage. The process removes the need for large capital equipment, improves work flow and enables production of larger and more complex designs.

Ben Halford, Chief Executive at Surface Generation, comments:“PtFS represents the most significant step forward the industry has seen in years. Our unique process allows energy to be varied intelligently across the mould, delivering a precise and efficient means of curing carbon composite structures. These trials with Cytec, who are market leaders and pioneers in composite tooling technology, provide more evidence that the future of carbon composite processing lies outside of the oven and auto-clave.”

Alasdair Ryder, High Volume Manufacturing Manager at Cytec, comments:“The combination of out-of-autoclave technologies from Cytec and Surface Generation has significant potential to drive cost, quality and efficiency improvements in carbon fibre composite manufacturing processes. We look forward to working with Surface Generation to explore opportunities with aerospace, automotive, motorsport and renewable businesses around the world.”






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