Shape offers novel visual options with preforming technology

The ShapeTex preform uses a continuous tow of carbon fiber laid down to create a zero waste, optimized and accurately sized preform.

Tooling and carbon composite parts manufacturer Shape (Witney, Oxfordshire, UK) has a lot going on these days. The group’s machining operation recently doubled the size of its facility and the company has been using its ShapeTex preforming technology to offer a range of new visual options.

According to Shape they are able to deliver design composite parts, specify the laminate, analyze the laminate, design the tooling, manufacture the preform, hot press the part, CNC trim the part (if needed) and fully inspect it – all in-house. The ShapeTex preform uses a continuous tow of carbon fiber laid down to create a zero waste, optimized and accurately sized preform that can be directly consolidated into the finished part.

 

The ShapeTex process allows for a wide variety of fiber directions, patterns, tow spacings, tow sizes, fiber types, stitching threads, stitching spacings, stitch colors and backing materials. The company claims it can create patterns and finishes that can’t be achieved with a traditional woven fabric.

“With a ShapeTex preform we have a number of parameters we can tune to obtain a variety of different visual appearances,” says Shape’s managing director Peter McCool. “This is particularly advantageous with some of the lifestyle products we are developing for our customers. This new found visual freedom really suits our customers’ requirements to push the visual and aesthetic boundaries of their products.”