Composiflex expands equipment service offerings

The composites manufacturer has recently added a CNC panel saw, CNC router and a fabric-cutting table to its hardware lineup.

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Composiflex (Erie, Pa., USA), a global supplier of highly-engineered composite products, announced on June 1 several equipment acquisitions and process refinements in order to fuel growth in the face of a sour economy.

Its most recent addition, a CNC panel saw, was brought last month. Over the course of the last year, the company has also added a state-of-the-art 5-axis CNC router with large 60-by-120-by-48-inch machining envelope, as well as a computer-controlled cloth cutter to optimize material use and pattern consistency. Going against today's penchant toward outsourcing, Composiflex views such vertical integration as a competitive advantage. In this way, it avoids the "leadtime stack-up" inherent in moving a part from one to supplier to another in order to execute all necessary operations. Composiflex can also better attest to the ultimate quality of the resulting product when it retains full control through processes certified to ISO9001 and AS9100 quality standards.

In addition to equipment acquisition, Composiflex also pursues continuous improvement of its processes.  At the end of this month, the company will launch a thermal fluid consolidation project. The project has several elements focused on increasing energy efficiency and controlling operating costs. First, the current system for heating two mechanical presses as well as an autoclave will be improved by moving electric heaters off line and using an oil heater fueled by more efficient natural gas to heat all three pieces of equipment. Concurrent with the fluid system consolidation project, the autoclave heat exchanger will be renovated with a projected energy savings of 67 percent. Composiflex will also add a heat recovery system to supplement heating the building during winter months. Finally, the current cooling tower drive will be replaced by a variable frequency drive, which is projected to result in 59 percent electrical energy savings compared to the current motor.