SHAPE is developing processes designed to lower the cost of prototyping and speed up the demonstration of scalable composites manufacturing processes. This has been in response to the growing demands of the low- to mid-volume automotive market, which requires quick manufacture of parts using out of autoclave processes. Together with TenCate Advanced Composites, SHAPE has manufactured a technology demonstrator component specifically to be press moulded using TenCate E732 snap-cure prepregs. The aluminium press mould tooling was designed to enable hot pressing of first-off parts, curing in only 4 minutes. From conception to delivery, the project took nine weeks to complete.
Carbon fibre reinforced plastic is used in a variety of applications by SHAPE customers due to its inherent high strength, high stiffness and low mass properties.
“This snap cure prepreg allows us to cure parts in only 4 minutes using the heated press equipment installed at SHAPE,” reports SHAPE’s Composites and Engineering Manager, Glen Pascoe. “We’re very pleased with the surface finish, level of consolidation and speed of development shown on this project. The unique automotive panel geometry has many features such as steep sides, a perimeter flange, recesses and ribs. Final CNC trimming in a bespoke vacuum jig adds further through holes and trims the flange to the correct size.”
Industries: Automotive and Road Transportation