Plasan North America expands composite manufacturing solutions
PNA fabric cutter. Source | Plasan North America
Plasan North America, Inc. (PNA, Grand Rapid, Mich., U.S.), provider of advanced armor solutions for combat and tactical vehicles, announced on June 23 that the company is beginning to expand and invest in its composite manufacturing and technologies in its defense sector — specifically lightweight, high-strength composite and ceramic-composite manufacturing — in order to meet the market demand for cost-efficient, lightweight and high-performing products.
PNA says for its defense sector, it intends to house high- and low-pressure presses and three autoclaves enabling high-volume production runs for highly contoured parts, as well as short-run production and preliminary design prototyping. The three autoclaves already located at the Grand Rapids facility range in size from 10 feet diameter, 20 feet long; to 10 feet diameter, 10 feet long; and 7 feet diameter, 7 feet long,
PNA autoclave. Source | Plasan North America
Additional composites processing PNA plans to invest in includes automated fabric cutting as well as high-speed consolidated laminate cutting, and two laser cutters featuring precision up to ±0.004 inch. The company notes it already provides in-house resin prepregging, capacity for large-scale continuous layup and a fully developed finishing department. Furthermore, PNA plans to manufacture several pultruded parts including aircraft carrier elevator stanchions, un-manned aerial vehicle (UAV) wings, spall liners and vehicle body panels.
“The need for composite manufacturing to become stronger, faster, and leaner has increased as new technologies emerge,” says Brett Maki, VP business development at Plasan. “PNA is rising to the occasion and driving that innovation.”
Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) replacing coated steel in more reinforced-concrete applications.
Oven-cured, vacuum-bagged prepregs show promise in production primary structures.
Composites Technology Development's first commercial tank in the Type V category presages growth of filament winding in storage of compressed gases.