New ways to make composites

Linden NJ-based General Magnaplate claims to have made a breakthrough in layup-moulding technology that will save time and money for fabricators of parts constructed of composites.

Magnaplate’s Edmund V. Aversenti reports that the patented CMPT process reduces the total time needed to make large layup-moulds (toolfaces) for complex reinforced composites from the current six to twelve months to as little as six weeks, while slashing tooling costs by one-third.

CMPT is a dense, multi-directional, metal weaving process which eliminates the need to machine layup-moulds out of large, heavy metal ingots or castings. It combines the accuracy, precision, and surface quality previously available only after machining. What’s more, it makes possible high temperature tooling for long or short production runs for cures up to 750 degrees F. The toolface can be made from any alloy, from aluminum to zinc, including high nickel INVAR.

Depending on the size of the toolface, this robotically controlled process may take from a few hours to a few days.

A CMPT toolface duplicates all the properties of a solid metal tool, without the cost, high weight, long lead time, and lengthy finishing time. For example, a five-foot square, three-foot thick INVAR billet weighing 3,500lbs generally takes four months before it is ready for CNC machining and could cost as much as $20,000, even before machining and finishing. However, a five-foot square CMPT toolface with a 3-foot contour weighs only 400lbs, takes about seven days to make, and is ready for production after being fitted onto a flex-contour holding table.

More information on the technology is available on the Web at www.magnaplate.com.

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