Surface Generation develops new composite press-forming processes

The process can be used by automotive and aerospace manufacturers for producing carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic components.

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Surface Generation (Midlands, UK) is working with WMG, a firm based at the University of Warwick in the UK and AGC AeroComposites (AGC, Crewkerne, Somerset, UK) to develop a new composite press-forming processes for automotive and aerospace manufacturers.

Surface Generation is developing new press-forming mold faces incorporating its patented PtFS technology for the production of high-performance thermoplastic composite components. By integrating Surface Generation’s active thermal management technologies into the mold face itself, WMG and AGC are able to continuously adapt heating and cooling levels for each mold area and process stage in real-time, with the expectation of improving both the quality and throughput of compression molding applications. The work is in support of the Composites Innovation Cluster’s Thermocomp project, which is seeking to develop short cycle time, high volume manufacturing processes that can be used by automotive and aerospace manufacturers for producing carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic components.

“PtFS provides automotive and aerospace manufacturers with a new level of sophistication in compression molding,” said Ben Halford, CEO of Surface Generation. “The ability to dynamically control the heat applied to each mold area throughout the cure cycle means manufacturers can quickly and cost-effectively upgrade existing production lines for thermoplastic composites and significantly reduce their cost of production. As part of an integrated production line, PtFS makes it possible for manufacturers to achieve one minute Takt times for thermoplastic components.”