Whether you require a new component, wish to improve the manufacture of existing products, or supply materials or manufacturing equipment to the composites industry, ACS Australia has the capability to move your product a step ahead of the competition by incorporating the latest developments. We provide independent advice on the best combination of materials for your composites application, and can assist in the development of new materials, with demonstrated success in fire retardant materials and UV cure composites.
We apply our knowledge to the design and development of new products, new processes and the improvement and optimisation of existing processes to give our clients a competitive advantage. Our experience in the use of modelling tools to predict material and component behaviour during manufacturing enables production to tighter tolerances with better repeatability. These tools reduce experimentation during the design process, cutting the development time and cost considerably.
We have in-house capability to design and manufacture rapid low-cost tooling, for prototyping and rapid manufacture of high-accuracy, prototype and low- production-run components. Our services can also include testing for qualification, process documentation and training of manufacturing staff.
Thermoset Composite Welding
Assembly remains a major cost in manufacturing complex composite components. To allow rapid assembly of carbon/epoxy components, ACS Australia staff and other participants in CRC-ACS developed Thermoset Composite Welding (TCW).
Efforts to reduce assembly costs frequently focus on making larger, more complex structures. TCW reduces costs in quite a different way, by combining the rapid welding potential of thermoplastic composites with the versatility and lower cost of carbon/epoxy prepregs.
In the TCW process, a special layer of thermoplastic is incorporated in the surface of components to be joined during layup. The thermoplastic and thermoset polymers intermingle before the cure is complete, providing a strongly attached thermoplastic surface on the thermoset composite laminate. In the subsequent welding process, these laminates can be rapidly joined, giving a robust joint with less sensitivity to aggressive environments than adhesive bonded joints.
Cost savings are dramatic. 10% component cost savings have been projected on example aircraft components, and non-structural implementations of TCW may allow 90% reduction in labour requirements.
This patented technology is being readied for application in fields from construction to sporting equipment, and will be deployed on aircraft within five years.
Consumers demand environmentally friendly technologies. ACS Australia staff and CRC-ACS participants have undertaken development of plant fibre biocomposites, utilising conventional and plant-sourced polymer systems, to produce reliable, sustainable technology for this next generation of composites.
Several research programs are addressing applications from aircraft interiors to building products. One stream of technology development has focused on extruded wood and natural fibre combined with conventional thermoplastics, for the replacement of timber products in a range of applications.
Another stream has concentrated on textiles for replacement of random and continuous glass fibre. Yet more work is underway in developing treatment systems for improving moisture, adhesion and fire performance of plant-based fibres, for application to partially and wholly plant-sourced composites. We are collaborating with a wide range of institutions around Australia and across the globe in this emerging field.
Case Study : Resin Infusion Technology enables Multi-Billion Dollar Aircraft Program
Hawker de Havilland (HdH), now Boeing Aerostructures Australia (BAA), was a Tier 2 supplier of composite aircraft components to a number of aircraft manufacturers worldwide. It was traditionally a facility using conventional prepreg hand lay-up and autoclave curing procedures.
ACS Australia personnel, undertaking collaborative research programs with Boeing personnel, developed technologies so that BAA was in a position to bid for future aircraft programs with new technology, and thus maintain a competitive advantage against its competitors. The R&D programs developed a number of technologies including vacuum assisted resin infusion, diaphragm forming, process simulation, post-buckling analysis, bird strike simulation and design optimisation. ACS Australia personnel worked at the HdH sites to facilitate the implementation.
BAA leveraged a number of these technologies, and was eventually awarded a Boeing contract to design and build all the Boeing 787 Wing Trailing Edge Devices, including flaps, spoilers and ailerons, which is expected to generate at least AUD 4 billion in exports for BAA over the program lifetime.
Case Study : Fireshield Surfacing Veil
A fire retardant surfacing veil was developed by ACS Australia personnel as a novel solution to improve fire performance in pultruded product. FireShield can be used on most resin types and manufacturing processes. It enables replacement of expensive and difficult to process FR resins with a lower cost material which is easier to process.
Following fire performance evaluation, composition modifications, resin compatibility trials and manufacturing specification development , the technology was licensed to Regina Glass Fibre & Tissue. CRC-ACS and Regina currently work together to co-develop the product further to improve properties, processing and production, in order to increase penetration into new markets.
A number of awards were received in relation to the technology, including the CRC STAR Award in May 2008 for “high level achievement in helping to build successful small to medium enterprises through the transfer of CRC innovation” for this project, and a JEC Asia 2009 Innovation Award for Raw Materials for the Fireshield product.
- Feasibility Studies
- • Technology reviews
- • Recommendation of best materials/processes
- • Benefits and practicalities of replacing other materials with composites
- Product Development
- • New material development
- • In-process modelling of materials
- • Residual stress modelling
- • Product and process optimisation
- • Manufacture one-off composite parts
- • Manufacture of large, full scale prototypes
- Process Development & Improvement
- • Development of new processes
- • Quality, performance and dimensional accuracy improvement
- • Costing of manufacturing processes
- Materials Characterisation
- • Mechanical testing, microscopy and resin gel testing
- • Resin Infusion Technology, including Resin Film Infusion (RFI), Vacuum Bag Resin Infusion (VBRI) and Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM)
- • Pultrusion
- • Prepreg lay-up
- • Diaphragm Forming, including prediction of wrinkle formation and fibre orientation
- • Preforming
- • Infusion
- • Bonding
- • Welding
- • Assembly
- • Composites machining
- • Powder coating
- • Thermoplastic resins and films
- • Thermoset resins (polyurethane, polyester, vinylester, epoxy and BMI)
- • Adhesives (paste and film)
- • Paints and primers
- • Biocomposites
- • Fire resistant materials
- • Glass, carbon, aramid (Kevlar) fibres
- • UV cure composites
- •Surface treatments