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Cannon has supplied preforming and metering equipment to Madison Heights, MI based Cambridge Industries for production of the GMT 800 composite pick-up truck box and inner tailgate. In late 2000 General Motors will introduce the Chevrolet Silverado full size pick-up truck with a composite interior box and tailgate. The Silverado pickup-truck box is the largest single composite part produced worldwide with SRIM technology in the vehicle industries. It is approximately 2.2 m long x 1.7 m wide x .6 m high with a total surface area of nearly 7.5 square meters. The preformed part weight is approximately 22 kg and is made with The Cannon Compotec Chopped Fiber Preform Technology. With this process, glass roving is automatically chopped, distributed on a mould, cured to final shape and unloaded. Chopped glass roving is the least expensive way to produce a glass preform for a large, high volume production part requiring long glass reinforcement. The scrap is minimized since the glass is distributed via a six-axis robot which accurately follows the perimeter of the part. Flexibility in glass distribution is also enhanced since glass can be sprayed in different densities and concentrations on the same part according to the structural properties required throughout the part. The plant was partially manufactured in Italy and partially in the USA and integrated at the Cambridge facility.
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