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29th November 2017, Witney

Shape and TenCate design technology demonstrator component

A leading UK-based composites manufacturer Shape Machining has successfully demonstrated its capabilities in the field of advanced composites for automotive applications, through a recent collaboration with TenCate Advanced Composites.

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

CNC trimmed automotive panel. © Shape Machining Ltd

“This snap cure prepreg, allows us to cure parts in only four 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,” said Shape’s Composites and Engineering Manager, Glen Pascoe.

Shape is developing processes that help lower the cost of prototyping and speed up the demonstration of scalable composites manufacturing processes. This has been in response to the growing demands of the low to mid volume automotive market, who require quick manufacture of parts using out of autoclave processes, the company reports.

“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,” said TenCate’s Product Manager for Thermoset Technologies, Jed Illsley.

Shape Machining specialises in machining metallic tools, epoxy tooling block patterns, Rohacell foams and the trimming of carbon fibre parts for the automotive, motorsport and aerospace industry.

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