Aerospace Composite Tooling

Aerospace Composite Tooling

Composite material consists of reinforcing thermoset or thermoplastic matrix with reinforcements represented generally by resistant and stiff fibers. These materials are desirable for aviation and aerospace employment due to their outstanding strength, stiffness, density ratios, and superior physical attributes.

From fuselage panels, wing assemblies, to aircraft seating, and instrument enclosures, composite materials are one of the most significant resources utilized by the aerospace industry due to their ability to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency. As a result of high production demands, dimensional requirements, and crucial precision, aerospace manufacturers must have access to robust tools that preserve assembly cycles and safeguard global supply chains.

Hard Tools

Hard tools are frequently constructed of high-yielding metal compounds such as steel, aluminum, and nickel. However, while these materials are reliable, they do have shortcomings that cause production lines difficulties, including:

  • Their overall weight, making the hard tools challenging to move and work with seamlessly.
  • Expensive tool manufacturing costs.
  • Their thermal conductivity which can lengthen cure times and lead to cure certification complications ensuing from a lack of control during the treatment process.

In conclusion, the manufacturing of hard tooling is extensive and requires meticulous finishing and buffing procedures in addition to welding and other significant phases to obtain a functional part. 

The Advantages of Composite Tooling

The impediments in production that are caused by hard tools can be solved through the application of composite tooling, also known as soft tooling. There are copious advantages to using composite materials, including:

  • Simplicity in the assembly of intricate mechanisms such as shapes and designs.
  • More robust tool strength at a lower mass
  • An overall weight decrease in the tool itself, by 20 – 50%.
  • Enhanced tolerance to significant damage
  • Thermal constancy when bare to prompt temperature adjustments
  • Elimination of corrosion issues
  • Increased endurance to high impacts

Common Aerospace Composite Materials

Furthermore, an additional valuable aspect of aerospace composite is that several types of composites are used in aerospace manufacturing, depending on the soft tool requirements. For example, parts manufactured in small capacities, prototype pieces where stringent dimensional certainty is not a requirement, and pieces cured at room or low temperatures can be manufactured with materials such as fiberglass, high-density foams, machinable epoxy panels, clay or wood/plaster models are frequently suitable.

At Fibrotek Advanced Materials, we are committed to utilizing the following composite materials in our production of soft and hard tools depending on client requirements for customized results:

  • Carbon fiber
  • Kevlar
  • Fiberglass
  • Graphite
  • Tooling boards
  • Epoxy and other synthetic thermoset resin and polymers
  • Composite sandwich laminate
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Wood
  • Plaster

These diverse materials permit our business in constructing innovative hybrid tools that off the benefits of both hard and soft tools to optimize performance and reduce complications across the production line while offering customizable experiences contingent on client provisions and budget requirements. Our individually constructed frame infrastructure is produced of solid aluminum or steel, rendering the required toughness, quality, and low-shrinkage potential.

How Fibrotek Advanced Materials Can Help  

With over 20 years of experience serving diverse clients in the aerospace, drone, and automotive industry, our objective at Fibrotek Advanced Materials is to continue leading tooling manufacturing and engineering standards by expanding the boundaries of efficiency and innovation to offer our clients superior quality products that are cost-effective. From the initial prototype design stage to manufacturing and delivery, Fibrotek Advanced Materials has profitably eliminated all subcontracting costs for customers while certifying remarkable craftsmanship.

Our extensive warehouse is host to internal proficiencies for:

  • 3-, 4-, and 5- axis machining
  • Autoclaving
  • Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing  
  • Assembly
  • Prototype and modeling display for demonstrational purposes

Miscellaneous Production Parts

Fibrotek Advanced Materials masterfully employs complex understanding and expertise in executing intricate tooling, mechanical parts and equipment for drilling and trim milling, segments, and accessories with a diverse team of engineers, chemists, specialized staff, and business superintendents working alongside several principal OEMs and Tier 1 companies globally.

Here is a closer look at the production mechanical parts Fibrotek Advanced Materials can manufacture for your necessities:

  • Finishing devices
  • Joining devices
  • Assembly jigs
  • Retainers
  • Milling devices
  • Vacuum-type or clamp-style
  • Complex, challenging shapes
  • Hydraulic or Pneumatic grippers for high quantity industrialized procedures

Complying with AS9100 standards and quality specifications, Fibrotek Advanced Materials' professional engineering, manufacturing, and delivery services offer excellent care and valuable solutions. This assurance is upheld through the utilization of our 10x20 Composite Autoclave –a high-pressure container employed to construct composites requiring immense pressure and temperatures.

Our Inspection Standards

Fibrotek Advanced Materials takes pride in advancing a diverse spectrum of measurement solutions at all stages of our product life cycles by utilizing innovative technological software, including HandyScan 3D, a transportable metrology-grade 3D scanner. This dynamic handheld 3D scanner promptly presents precise, high-resolution 3D scans with intricate exteriors under all environmental circumstances. It also extends sharpness up to 0.030 mm (0.0012 in.) and a maximum resolution of 0.050 mm (0.0020 in.).

Furthermore, its top acquisition rate is 480,000 measurements/s. Applied in combination with post-treatment software, data from the 3D scan can be clinched and exported as a simple 3D file for inspection, 3D printing, and CAD software (CATIA, SolidWorks, Inventor, etc.). With this innovative production scanner, Fibrotek offers our clients unlimited 3D scanning regardless of the part size, complexity, material, or surface with this innovative production scanner.

Fibrotek Advanced Materials Quality Certifications

As an industry leading company, Fibrotek Advanced Materials is pleased to hold several quality certifications, including:

  • ISO 9001: 2015 Quality Management
  • AS 9100 Quality Management for Aerospace and Defense

We are also registered under the Canadian Controlled Products Program (CGP), and Compliant with ITAR.

Call Fibrotek Advanced Materials Today

At Fibrotek Advanced Materials, clients can rest assured knowing they’ve partnered with a company who understands the complexity and significance of innovative aerospace composite tooling. With years of experience and industry authority, our team is well-equipped with the knowledge and manufacturing equipment to deliver you with excellence.

To learn more about how we can assist you, please call us at (418) -439-0999 to book a consultation call with our team of diverse experts.

We look forward to working with you.