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Shape Machining has pressed the first batch of parts that combine short fibre sheet moulding compound (SMC) over an optimised, long fibre carbon ShapeTex preform.
“We currently cannot announce the customer we are working with on this demonstration project, but it’s an exciting development,” says Shape Machining’s Managing Director, Peter McCool. “We use the continuous fibre of the ShapeTex preform as the structural backing on to which we consolidate a short fibre laminate that can flow and fill the mould cavity more easily.”
The ShapeTex preform uses a continuous tow of carbon fibre that gives significant strength to the finished part.
“The potential of this technology is quite significant,” McCool adds. “We have been working on this combination for quite a while now and feel that now is the time to bring it to market. We have several customers that like the aesthetic look of the SMC and the ability to press and cure parts with channels, ribs, fixing bosses means that we can incorporate features into a single composite part that would otherwise require several operations and multiple parts. This process has been developed using epoxy thermoset resins and offers closed moulded parts with optimised strength using approved resin systems.”
Although these trials were conducted in a flat mould the process lends itself equally to complex and double curvature parts. Shape is targeting high volume applications in the automotive and sports equipment market with this process.
Image provided by Shape
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