Ascent Aerospace invests in Thermwood LSAM machine
With a 10' x 40' fabrication area, Ascent’s LSAM machine will be the largest available in the aerospace market, allowing for both the printing and machining of a wide range of thermoplastic composite materials. Photo | Thermwood Corp.
Ascent Aerospace (Macomb Township, Mich., U.S.; Santa Ana, Calif., U.S.), a leading provider of aerospace tooling systems, factory automation and integration solutions, has announced its recent investment of a Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) machine from Thermwood Corp. (Dale, Ind., U.S.).
As a new tooling option for its customers, Ascent intends to utilize the LSAM machine to bring tools such as layup molds, masters, trimming/drilling fixtures and vacuum holding fixtures to market faster than ever before. The LSAM machine will be co-located with the company’s composite tooling shop, autoclave and clean room in Santa Ana, Calif. By combining the LSAM with Ascent’s in-house tooling expertise and heritage engineering, the company aims to fabricate and deliver fully functional select fixtures and molds with significantly reduced lead-times compared to a traditional metallic tool. Ascent says the wide variety of LSAM compatable materials, such as ABS, Polycarbonate, Nylon, and PESU resins with reinforcing compounds, will further expand the company’s selection of tooling solutions.
“Our investment in the LSAM represents the next milestone in Ascent’s multi-year technology roadmap and realization of expansive efforts studying the benefits of additive manufacturing within the aerospace tooling market,” says Michael Mahfet, the CEO of Ascent Aerospace. “This capability positions us to remain the leader in new and innovative tooling solutions, supporting strong collaboration with our customers and supplementing our in-house, vertically integrated design and fabrication capabilities.”
The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.
Compared to legacy materials like steel, aluminum, iron and titanium, composites are still coming of age, and only just now are being better understood by design and manufacturing engineers. However, composites’ physical properties — combined with unbeatable light weight — make them undeniably attractive.
Tried-and-true materials thrive, but new approaches and new forms designed to process faster are entering the marketplace.