Web Industries launches new center focused on thermoplastics

The company’s new Thermoplastic Composite Development and Qualification Center is designed for the purpose of creating processes that format thermoplastic carbon fiber prepreg materials, including PEEK, PEKK and PPS, for use in various fabrication technologies.

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Web Industries’ (Marlborough, Mass.) new Thermoplastic Composite Development and Qualification Center is specifically designed, staffed, and equipped for the purpose of creating processes that format thermoplastic carbon fiber prepreg materials, including PEEK, PEKK and PPS, for use in various fabrication technologies. The facility is also employed to qualify the equipment that will process the new thermoplastic composite formats.

According to Business Development Manager Jim Powers, the new facility houses slitting equipment capable of cutting materials into tapes as narrow as 1/16 to 1 inch on a traverse wound spooling line. A second slitter/winder precision cuts wide rolls into 1 to 6+ inch strips for planetary wound formats. The space is also equipped with machinery that chops materials into fiber flakes measuring ½-by-½ or 1/16-by-½ inch for use in compression molding, and it will incorporate seaming technology later in the year. All of the process equipment is capable of achieving high precision tolerances down to thousands of an inch, contingent on incoming material quality.

“Web Industries’ investment in the new development and qualification center supports aerospace manufacturers with the means to make their thermoplastic composite concepts a reality,” Powers says. “The industry has long dreamed of having automated processing for thermoplastic composite manufacturing. This is now feasible thanks to advancements in fabrication techniques. As a result, an increasing number of aircraft parts are being designed to use thermoplastics.”

Powers notes that Web Industries’ extensive experience in formatting thermoset materials for aerospace applications makes the company well suited to pioneer new thermoplastic composites formatting. The engineering goal is to support the requirements of the advanced fabrication techniques of today and the future.

Web Industries created the standalone Thermoplastic Composite Development and Qualification Center to process various thermoplastic composite materials that are being used for or considered for use in aerospace applications. It is separated out from Web Industries’ thermoset processes to allow for dedicated solutions and material control. It is climate controlled and closed to maintain cleanliness and reduce potential FOD liability issues.

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