These have several advantages over metallic tubes, the main mechanical properties of the various materials can be seen in the table below. Composite tubes do not rust or corrode but more importantly the laminate used can be tailored to ensure it is structurally optimised to the customers' requirements.
|Carbon Fibre||Glass Fibre||Aluminium|
|Density (Kg / M^3)||1600||2200||2700|
|Strength, Tensile (MPa)||1200 – 2500||900||450|
|Stiffness, YM, (GPa)||200||72||70|
Roll Wrapping ~ Customised Composites only method of construction ~
This is currently the only method that allows a tube to be manufactured with a true 0 degree and 90-degree fibre. It allows us to manufacture a tube that is made from a combination of materials, such as glass and carbon, using both unidirectional and woven fabrics and cure the tube as a whole. This allows us to completely tailor our laminate specifications to meet customer requirements, using the best qualities from each of our chosen materials. We use pre-preg materials ranging from high specification carbon unidirectional materials to woven carbon and glass. These materials allow us to exactly control the amount of fibre, the fibre orientation and the exact resin content, and hence the weight of the finished tube.
We cut out the exact amount of material required and, by hand, roll it around a male former or mandrel. When we have all the laminate that is required wrapped correctly around the mandrel we wrap shrink tape around the tube and using heat, in a controlled oven, cure the tube in a single process. When cured the mandrel is removed to leave the finished tube.
This process can manufacture large quantities of tube or rod very quickly. It manufactures tubes by pulling continuous fibres through a resin bath and into a heated former or die. At this point the tube or rod is formed and the resin cures due to the heat of the die. As the cured tube comes out of the die it is cut to length. This is a relatively low-cost method of manufacturing tubes however the tubes it manufactures only have fibres running in one direction. This makes them very strong in one direction but very weak in any other.
Filament Wound Tubes
This manufacturing method, like roll wrapping relies on winding fabric around a male mandrel. Filament winding uses a spinning mandrel and a head which moves along its length. On the head are thin tapes or filaments, as the mandrel spins the head moves up and down, so winding the filaments around the mandrel to form a tube. When the required thickness is achieved the completed tube is cured using heat after which the mandrel can be removed leaving the finished product.
Because we manufacture our tubes using a roll wrapping method we can incorporate a number of materials in one tube. This allows us to tailor the tube exactly to the customers' requirements. Our tubes can be used in a range of different industries from aerospace to automotive to marine. In most cases where an aluminium tube has been used a carbon fibre or composite tube could be used as a direct replacement, either increasing the strength and stiffness or reducing the overall weight of the product.
- Composite tubing can be manufactured to the same weight as an aluminium tube but with far higher strength and / or stiffness.
- Composite Tubing can be manufactured to the same strength stiffness properties as aluminium tubes while saving weight over metallic counterparts.
- Our manufacturing process allows us to develop / adapt our current tubes to meet any design criteria while minimising cost.
3 Axis CNC Machine
At the beginning of 2016 we took delivery of our first 3 axis computer controlled high speed router. The machine is specifically design for cutting and drilling composite materials and is equipped with a specialised carbon extraction system and a vacuum bed allowing us to hold the thinnest laminates securely in order to machine shapes, without tabs, that require very little finishing.
The machine was purchased to allow us to repeatedly produce items from flat panels, such as our range of carbon headboards and clew boards as well as allowing us to take computer generated surfaces and shapes from clients and reproduce tooling and objects with incredible accuracy. We have recently finished writing programs that will cut our range of Int. Moth Cams and are working on 3D tooling for hydrofoils.