Solid Concepts adds composites to service offering

The company's rapid prototyping service helps customers locate hardware on fiberglass-reinforced composite panels.

Solid Concepts Inc. (Valencia, Calif., USA), a supplier of rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing services, has announced that it now offers rapid prototyping of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) services out of its new Troy, Mich., facility.

Sheets of fiberglass are cut and laminated with proprietary epoxies to offer a variety of desirable properties. Panels are created from a one-sided layup tool where the A side geometry is accurately reproduced. The back, or B side, of the geometry often requires brackets, hinges, boss clusters and/or other hardware. The use of proprietary fixtures allows Solid Concepts to precision-locate B-side hardware, providing a much tighter fitting assembly with consistent and level reveals.

FRP panels have exceptional surface finish ideal for single-sided cosmetic purposes. Additionally, FRP allows for faster production of large panel parts when compared to the pricier alternative, RIM (reaction injection molding). Although typical application for FRP includes large cosmetic prototype panels for automotive, agricultural, construction and medical industries, the 2009 introduction of UL 94 V0 Fire retardant materials has enticed various other industries to turn to FRP. These panels are light and very tough.