Shape Machining proves snap-cure molding capabilities

UK-based Shape Machining used TenCate snap-cure prepregs with a 4-minute cure to prove the viability of the material for high-volume automotive composites.

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Shape Machining Ltd. (Witney, Oxfordshire, UK) reports that it has successfully demonstrated its capabilities in the field of advanced composites for automotive applications through a recent collaboration with TenCate Advanced Composites UK (Langley Mill, Nottingham, UK).

Together with TenCate Advanced Composites, Shape designed and manufactured a technology demonstrator component specifically to be press molded using TenCate E732 snap-cure prepregs. The aluminium press-mold tooling was designed and manufactured by Shape to enable hot pressing of first-off parts, curing in only 4 minutes. In total the project, from conception to delivery, took nine weeks to complete.

SHAPE’s Composites and Engineering Manager, Glen Pascoe, says, “This snap-cure prepreg allows us to cure parts in only 4 minutes using the heated press equipment installed at Shape. We’re very pleased with the surface finish, level of consolidation and speed of development shown on this project. The unique automotive panel geometry has many features such as steep sides, a perimeter flange, recesses and ribs. Final CNC trimming in a bespoke vacuum jig adds further through holes and trims the flange to the correct size.”

TenCate’s product manager for Thermoset Technologies, Jed Illsley, adds, “Working with the team at Shape has been a fantastic experience. Their adoption of snap-cure out of autoclave materials has been remarkable, producing high-quality parts with complex geometries.”