24th January 2017, Stamford, CT
Hexcel will be promoting its leading range of composite materials, including a HexPly M78.1 fast-curing prepreg system and HiMax engineered multiaxial reinforcements, for skis, snowboards and other high performance winter sports equipment at ISPO Munich, which will be held from 5-8 February.
Hexcel’s innovations in epoxy resins, carbon fibre fabrics, prepregs, laminates and polyurethane systems are designed to enable the manufacture of lighter, stronger and more durable skis and snowboards to answer the needs of world class competitors, as well as the demanding sporting enthusiast.
A key supplier to the winter sports market for more than 40 years, at this year’s ISPO Hexcel will introduce the latest addition to its HexPly prepreg range, which has been developed to help ski manufacturers reduce production cycle times.
HexPly M78.1 features a fast-curing hot melt epoxy resin matrix and is available with carbon, glass or aramid fibre reinforcements. It is designed for applications where short cycles at around 110°C are required. The prepreg cures in 7 minutes at 120°C, yet it has a long storage out life of two weeks at room temperature, meaning there is often no need for freezer storage, saving time and energy, the company reports.
HexPly M78.1 is a low tack system making it easy to handle. It is also said to provide excellent adhesion to auxiliary and core materials including aluminium, wood, thermoplastics and elastomers.
Following the acquisition of Formax in January 2016, Hexcel’s composite materials portfolio now includes the HiMax range of multiaxial fabrics. HiMax reinforcements are produced on state-of-the-art multiaxial machines in Leicester, UK, and a selection of products will be on display at ISPO for the first time.
Hexcel’s fibre spreading capability is said to allow the development of ultra-lightweight carbon multiaxials that offer significant weight advantages for manufacturers of skis and other sporting equipment, where every extra gram of weight is critical in improving performance. With multiaxial reinforcements, the fibres can be placed in different axes to optimize the performance of the finished laminate, the company explains.
HiMax carbon multiaxials are available in a wide range of fabric styles with weights per ply from as low as 50 g/m2, fibre orientations from 22.5° through to 90° in up to four layers, and a wide range of fibre types from 3k upwards. Hexcel's Research & Technology team collaborates closely with customers to develop fabrics optimised for their individual application and processing technique. A recent project involved the creation of a bespoke range of carbon triaxial reinforcements for a custom freeride ski brand, helping the customer deliver a product with a lightweight, soft flex and reactive ride whilst retaining strength and durability.