Composite Alliance Corp. (CAC, Dallas, Texas) offers tooling solutions, custom machinery and process optimization for aerospace and automotive composites primarily. CAC also offers automated turnkey workcells for out-of-autoclave manufacturing processes such as resin transfer molding (RTM), vacuum-assisted RTM (VARTM), closed mold prepreg processing and thermoplastic press forming. CAC has introduced intelligent automation to improve composited preforming operations, including robotic preforming cells able to fold plies into 3D shapes and control the proper positioning of each ply as well as fiber orientation. Features such as automated compaction/debulk of stacked plies, robotic contour cutting for net-shape molding and insertion into a curing mold can be integrated. CAC has more than 30 years experience with RTM tools and provides complete workcells with molding presses, injectors and peripheral equipment. In thermoplastic press forming, continuous fiber-reinforced laminates, ranging from laboratory to high-production, is offered in a variety of materials such as PA, PC, PEI, PPS, PEEK and PEKK. Automation options include robotic, conveyor/shuttle or hybrid systems, designed to optimize the flow of materials based on production needs. Standard or custom-designed workstations are offered including material transport/handling systems, pre-heating IR ovens, consolidation and forming presses, tooling and fixtures.
Editor PickAutocomposites and the myth of $5/lb carbon fiber
The $5/lb line in the sand comes with a similar challenge that, ultimately, will determine the fate of carbon fiber in automotive: Manufacturability.