Swift Engineering receives 30-ft autoclave

Swift Engineering is converting its former rolling road wind tunnel space into a new composites manufacturing and preparation center, featuring a 30-ft by 10-ft ASC autoclave, testing equipment, laser projection equipment and other manufacturing tools.

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Swift Engineering Inc. (San Clemente, Calif., USA) reported on March 2 that it has moved closer to opening its new onsite state-of-the-art composite manufacturing and preparation center as it took delivery of a 30-ft by 10-ft (9.1m by 3m) custom-built autoclave.

The new autoclave, the first of two new purpose-built autoclaves being installed at Swift, took nine months to design and build by autoclave specialists ASC Process Systems (Valencia, Calif.). It weighs 90,000 tons and was installed into a recessed floor especially designed to ease the process and efficiency of loading and unloading the large autoclave.

“We’re very excited to have this new and key manufacturing resource installed at Swift and on schedule,” said Swift’s president, Jan Wesley Refsdal. “Expanding our manufacturing capabilities to be able to produce larger complex composite structures meeting Nadcap’s stringent requirements is vital to Swift’s continued growth and service to our high-profile aerospace partners going forward.”

Swift’s new 15,000-ft2/1,394m2 onsite manufacturing and preparation center uses an existing building that until late last year housed Swift’s 50 percent scale rolling road wind tunnel. With the support of Swift’s technical partners providing the latest supercomputing hardware and software, Swift’s aerodynamic design and testing increasingly became more reliant on virtual solutions. This allowed the valuable campus real estate taken up by the wind tunnel to be reused to upgrade and expand Swift’s manufacturing resources to match that of its advanced supercomputer engineering tools.

In addition to the new autoclave, Swift will also add other new resources to its already extensive composite manufacturing capabilities, all of which will continue to meet Swift’s Nadcap composite accreditation. The new composites center will contain an additional 6-ft by 8-ft (1.8m by 2.4m) ASC Autoclave, a 4,000 ft2/372m2 high-bay lamination room, an Instron materials testing laboratory, as well as laser tracker inspection and laser projector equipment.

Swift plans to have its new composite manufacturing and preparation center operational by April of this year.