Australian filament winder CST expands capability

CST Composites has expanded its winding capability to fabricate continuous 12m/39-ft-long carbon fiber/epoxy custom tubes.

Sydney, Australia-based filament winder CST Composites (Caringbah, Australia) has recently supplied its largest composite tube since the company began in 1995. Having received several orders to manufacture large diameter carbon fiber furling superyacht boom mandrels, engineers at CST extended the machine to allow custom tubes up to 12m/39 ft long and 450mm/18 inches in diameter to be wound in one continuous section.

Using an innovative disposable mandrel system, CST were able to accurately filament wind a 10m long tube, 10mm thick and 250mm in diameter. An identical 7m long tube was also manufactured which will be subsequently joined by the customer using a filament wound carbon sleeve. The complete assembly will be 17m long and weigh a total of 205kg.

Manager Clive Watts explains why filament winding is an ideal process for the manufacture of thick walled heavy tubing: “Filament winding delivers seamless tubes with excellent strength, stiffness and toughness. By using a computer controlled automated process, minimal labor input is required and thus costs are kept as low as possible. With the correct set-up high output rates are possible – one man can make a 100kg tube in a day’s work.”

With the revised modifications to machinery and tooling CST now expect to supply further large custom and production tubes for a variety of applications, with the aim to supply the maximum 12m length in the near future.

CST Composites, originally Composite Spars and Tube, was founded by Clive Watts in 1995. From its inception the company has focused on the design and manufacture of cost effective yet high quality filament wound tubing to service the marine, industrial and high-tech markets. The company employs 15 staff in a 1000 square meter high tech facility in Sydney, Australia.

All machinery is designed and manufactured in house. The company now runs two filament winding machines and a pultrusion machine giving a production capacity capability of more than 20 tonnes of composite per year. CST is currently the largest user of carbon tow in Australia and New Zealand. Tubes and profiles are exported worldwide.