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8/13/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Prodrive Composites updates, expands U.K. facility

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New cutting machines, in-house 3D printers, an additional autoclave, CNC machines and expanded production space aim to increase productivity.

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Prodrive composites laminates for automotive

Source | Prodrive

 

Prodrive Composites (Milton Keynes, U.K.), a supplier of advanced lightweight composite components, announces a series of facility and equipment upgrades aimed at increasing production capacity.

Prodrive says its facility upgrades include:

  • A Zund (Franklin, Wis., U.S.) automated prepreg cutting machine has been installed to support the throughput of raw material and cutting of material kits for laminating. Prodrive says this has doubled the cutting department’s capacity, providing greater efficiency and waste reduction through optimized nesting of whole rolls of materials. The company plans to implement an additional shift to further increase the capacity.
  • The laminating production space has been expanded by 50%. This space houses a dedicated training room for apprentices and trainees.
  • A new autoclave is being procured and will reportedly facilitate up to five additional cure cycles, allowing a further 50 parts to be cured every day. The company estimates that it will now be able to produce 35,000 parts per year, up from more than 24,000 in 2018.
  • The company has transitioned from hand trimming to 5-axis CNC machine trimming for the manufacture of some large components, improving efficiency on batch products. One of two CNC machines has been relocated to the Milton Keynes facility and a multi-shift system been implemented for increased productivity.
  • Investment in two in-house 3D printers for prototype development is said to reduce the company’s reliance on third party providers, offering greater flexibility to make modifications and improvements during prototyping. 

The initiative began in 2018. When complete, the company says these facility enhancements will significantly increase productivity and open up capacity to support large-scale customer programs.

Customers are already benefiting from its production increase, according to Matt Bradney, director of business development: “By investing in these machine upgrades and improving efficiencies at our Milton Keynes facility, we are perfectly positioned to respond and deliver.”

In addition, ProDrive says other areas of business development for the company involve application of natural fiber composite components and development of recycling for carbon fiber.

For more, read about CW’s recent plant tour of Prodrive’s facility.

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