General Plastics Mfg. Co.
4910 Burlington Way
Tacoma , WA 98409 US
Next Generation Underwater System Provides Advancements in Design, Functionality, and Capability with Subsea Bouyancy Foam
Strategic Robotics Systems (SRS) was founded in 2015 in response to a need for underwater systems which combine the functionality of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
SRS’ FUSION is an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), the only one of its kind that provides a comprehensive sensor suite which includes imaging, navigation, and communication sensors. For the most accurate data, the sensors are seamlessly integrated and each one placed in the optimum position. Imaging sensors produce high-quality imagery, and navigation sensors provide valuable positional data with a precise control system. The company caters mostly to defense customers, but the product is flexible enough to be adapted into commercial applications.
With a customer base that is predominantly defense-oriented, FUSION was designed to be highly automated, fully autonomous, strong, and durable. The UUV will be subjected to severe conditions such as rough seas and high current. Because of this, they needed machined foam that can withstand the beating it would take underwater as it collects data, and in some cases neutralize sea mines. They also required buoyancy material that satisfied the depth requirement of 1,000 feet.
Other materials considered included syntactic foam, which is typically used for deeper water applications. Aside from the depth capability of syntactic foam being unnecessary, there was also an expense factor considered since SRS needed material that was reasonably affordable.
- Depth requirement of 1,000 feet
- Strong and durable material
- Machinable and affordable
SRS president and owner, Jesse Rodocker, started and sold a similar company that manufactured ROVs for commercial applications. In this capacity, he became familiar with the features and benefits of LAST-A-FOAM® subsea buoyancy foam. It was a good starting point since it had proven its worth in previous applications. To his knowledge, there are few materials available that satisfy the cost, machinability, and manufacturability requirements of SRS.
General Plastics’ LAST-A-FOAM® R-3300 buoyancy foam is a closed-cell, hydrostatic pressure-resistant polyurethane foam that comes in a range of densities which satisfy various depth requirements. R-3318, with a density of 18 pounds per cubic foot, was eventually selected since it can be used in depths to 1,000 feet when coated. The material is engineered to resist penetration by water and can be easily machined.
Being a small company, SRS needed to outsource as much of the manufacturing process as possible. With General Plastics, SRS received fully machined parts, affording them the maximum cost efficiency they desired. It was possible due to General Plastics' extensive machining capabilities. A local and knowledgeable customer service team that was always ready to help proved to be advantageous to SRS as they worked through various iterations of the product in the development phase.
To date, Strategic Robotics Systems has contracts with various defense customers, including the US Navy, Coast Guard, and the Royal Navy.
• Four products for different density/depth performances
• Provides buoyancy with depths to 1,200 feet, uncoated
• Excellent compressive properties
• Easy to machine, coat and paint
• Performs in freshwater or saltwater
• Available in big blocks and other custom sizes
A Message from General Plastics Mfg. Co.
As Seen In CompositesWorld
Composites suppliers, fabricators respond to coronavirus
Companies across the composites industry supply chain share how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their businesses, and how they are available to help.
CAMX 2019 exhibit preview: General Plastics
General Plastics Manufacturing Co. is showcasing its new LAST-A-FOAM FR-4800 tooling board at its CAMX 2019 booth.
CAMX 2018 preview: General Plastics
General Plastics (Tacoma, WA, US) is featuring its new high-temperature, low-CTE LAST-A-FOAM FR-4800 tooling board.
General Plastics launches ultrahigh-temperature tooling board
General Plastics Mfg. Co. (Tacoma, WA, US) expanded its line of high-temperature tooling board materials with the introduction of LAST-A-FOAM FR-4800, an autoclave-capable, high-density epoxy-urethane foam designed for master plug manufacturing, tool proofing, vacuum form tooling, pattern making, and short-run production tooling applications.
CAMX 2017 preview: General Plastics
General Plastics Mfg. Co. (Tacoma, WA, US) is showcasing its new LAST-A-FOAM RF-2200, a lightweight material that provides an RF-transparent protective layer for radome and antenna applications.
JEC World 2017 exhibit preview
JEC World will be held March 14-16 in Paris. CW previews some of the products and technologies that will be at the show.
JEC World 2016, the full report
CompositesWorld's editors report on the technologies and products that caught our eye at JEC World 2016, in early March.
Composites 101: Tooling
Composite parts are formed in molds, also known as tools. Tools can be made from virtually any material. The material type, shape and complexity depend upon the part and length of production run. Here's a short summary of the issues involved in electing and making tools.
CFRP camera boom enables safe spill inspection
NONA Composites’ 32m REACH structure meets tight remediation schedule at DoE radioactive waste storage site.
Composite tooling without oven or autoclave
No Oven No Autoclave technology has been demonstrated in tooling for NASA, including multiple thermal cycles and use for curing epoxy infused out-of-autoclave parts.
Pierce County trains skilled workers through collaborative curriculum building
Bruce Kendall, the president and CEO of the private, nonprofit Economic Development Board (EDB) for Tacoma-Pierce County (Wash.), reports on the success of a collaborative training curriculum development program that produces skilled workersfor the aerospace industry.
Tooling boards improve processes
In the composites industry, many parts are the product of one-off or few-of-a-kind production programs. In response, tooling material suppliers today provide an increasing variety of relatively inexpensive materials grouped under the heading of tooling board.
SAMPE 2009 Product Showcase
Showgoers at the SAMPE 2009 Conference and Exhibiton in Baltimore, Md. found many suppliers undeterred by poor economic news.
Taking Up Tooling Boards
Tooling Board ManufacturersEpoxy and polyurethane tooling boards are a standby for creating models or low-run-production tooling.
SAMPE 2005 Product Showcase
SAMPE's U.S. Symposium and Exhibition highlights technological innovation and market expansion.