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FIBRE Mechanics Panel Factory
The NTPT Automatic Tape Layer (ATL) can laminate fibre from 30g to 300g at any angle - up to 2000 linear metres of pre-preg laminate can be laminated in a day.
The 3.3m wide pre-preg cutting table at FIBRE Mechanics is used to lay and cut both pre-preg materials and pre-forms. Almost everything we laminate is cut on this cnc controlled machine, which not only increases accuracy, but also means that we have an automated traceabilty of almost every piece of fibre re-inforcement we use.
A carbon insert made with 45 degree braided carbon tube with multiple plys of unidirectional carbon wound on the inner wall of the insert. This insert will form a bulkhead penetration for electrical wiring.
"We have the perfect opportunity to combine the automation expertise of NTPT with the boat building experience of FIBRE Mechanics; enabling us to announce that our panel factory is now open for business…"
(James Austin of NTPT at the start of a joint project with FIBRE Mechanics)
The increasing need for automation…
The increasing level of engineering sophistication has become a key feature of marine composites; and even though the cost of materials has fallen significantly, it is the labour-intensive nature of modern build processes that makes custom yachts in particular so expensive.
We believe that by making use of the latest automated production techniques, it is possible to cut labour hours while increasing the quality and reliability of the work produced. We are now working on three initiatives that will deliver more cost-effective build solutions to owners of custom yachts and builders of production boats. The first of these being a collaboration with North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) to manufacture custom composite panels for high end boat building yards, and for the boats we build ourselves.
Mechanising the boat building process…
We run the core preparation and skin laminating processes as parallel activities until the two come together on the vacuum tables....
1.) Pre-Preg to Pre-form
2.) Core and inserts to core-kits
3.) Panel assemby and cure
Custom Panel Structures…
We have split the process of building a composite panel, such as a bulkhead, girder or joinery partition into three key activities and worked on all three independently...
- Panel skins - base laminates and reinforcing patches are produced on the ATL machine and cut to net shape and size by a cnc controlled cutting beam.
- Core kits - all cnc machined nomex or foam incorporating the detailed cut-outs required for core inserts, and the recesses required for local skin reinforcements.
- Core inserts - shear and UD material combined into sub-assemblies that are installed directly into core kits - such as penetration reinforcements, limber holes, aperture and edge cappings.
All cutting, shaping, laminating and curing is done by machine, and we have the capacity to pressure cure panels and plates in an autoclave up to 8 bar. We don't want to mechanise everything of course. Key elements of the panel manufacturing process rely on skill and experience...
- Engineering & design
- Programming of cutting files
- Insert manufacture and installation
- Final panel assembly and inspection
Sizes and Materials...
- Panel Size: 4.2m x 9.9m
- Three manufacturing sites in UK and Poland
- Reinforcement materials - typically carbon and glass
- Fibre weights from 30g upwards - any orientation
- Core Materials - typically nomex and foam
Contact Adrian Gillitt or Geoff Stock at...
FIBRE Mechanics +44 (0)1590 427007