This year we have been busy expanding our capacity on both sides of the Atlantic to better support our customers locally.
In North America, TenCate Cetex® thermoplastic UD tapes have created strong customer interest. Recent investments have been made in specific testing and analytical equipment to better assist our customers in generating qualification test results.
Within Europe, we have an enhanced offering of thermoset UD tapes and prepregs for aerospace, high performance automotive, medical, sports and leisure. In addition, we have positive pressure enclosed rooms housing machines and equipment dedicated solely to the production of ultra pure radome prepregs and complementary products.
Our heritage TenCate AmberTool® composite tooling prepreg range is evolving (more about that in our next eNews in January). We offer experienced technical support and processing guides to support your project needs.
TenCate Advanced Composites can fabricate your next compression moulded part utilising chopped fibre compression moulded billet stock which is available with a maximum size of 356 x 710 mm (14 x 28 inches) and thickness from 13 to 63.5 mm (0.5 to 2.5 inches).
> Hard point attachment areas in a composite part;
> Prototype / small volume parts;
> Part iterations during the development phase of compression moulded parts;
> Hard to fabricate complex composite parts which are better made from machining billet stock.
> Avoid tooling costs: Parts machined from billet have zero tooling costs! Whereas compression moulded parts require matched metal tooling (using hardened steel) because of the high pressures (138 bar, 2000 psi) required for moulding. Depending upon part size and complexity, mould costs can easily range from $20 - 80k.
> Short lead time: Parts can be machined quickly from billet stock avoiding long lead times.
> Billet stock is lower cost than continuous fibre thick laminates: Thick composites can be fabricated using continuous fibre lamina and autoclave cure, however, discontinuous fibre BMCs can be compression moulded with lower labour and processing costs.
> Weight reduction: over aluminium of 40%
With the increasing use of composites in aerospace, the need for superior composite tooling materials is growing. Part fabricators are looking for tools with longer life and tighter tolerances. The market is searching for a trusted technology partner that can provide world class innovation, manufacturing and service.
HX40 and HX42 from the TenCate AmberTool® HX-series, with the tack life of 8 and 5 days respectively, are ideally suited to the creation of large tooling structures. These materials have a 20 year pedigree and this series of products is available globally and sold by a proven team of tooling experts.
Our comprehensive range of TenCate AmberTool® tooling prepregs allows our customers to have complete tool design freedom and flexibility.
> Master and surface coat package (in Europe);
> Fast delivery solutions for standard materials;
> Carbon and glass reinforcements available;
> Excellent surface finish.
TenCate's TC235SF-1 and TC235SF-LS (denoting Lightning Strike versions) provide a smooth and protective surface for composites. This surface provides excellent paint adhesion whilst also providing an aerodynamically smooth surface.
With TC235SF, a lightning strike foil is laminated to the surfacing film to provide lightning strike protection to composite parts.
TenCate's surfacing films are used in applications ranging from general aviation to UAV's for composite surface protection. Consider TenCate's TC235SF surfacing films on your next part.
Using TenCate's TC275-1 resin matrix and A&P Technology's QISO® quasi-isotropic fabrics, a comparison was made to plain weave reinforcements. The QISO® reinforcement demonstrated improvements in tensile, compressive and open hole properties when compared in preIiminary single lot data over standard plain weave fabrics.
This unique balanced quasi-isotropic fabric offers users:
> Improved mechanical performance
> Reduced ply counts and less waste (each ply of QISO fabric with a 0º/±60º fiber orientation represents a balanced 0º/±45º/90º layer)
> Improved nesting efficiency for cutting, kitting and more robust layups
> Overall value compared to woven fabrics
> An attractive option over woven reinforcement composite part construction
The SKYe SH09, the next generation multi-purpose lightweight helicopter of Marenco Swisshelicopter helicopter, is made of light weight composite materials from TenCate Advanced Composites. Thanks to the use of composites, this rotorcraft offers exceptional performance with a low (internal and external) noise signature.
GLOBAL PARTNER FOR AEROSPACE COMPOSITES
Earlier this year, TenCate Advanced Composites signed a multi-year supply agreement with Marenco for the SKYe SH09 programme, and will supply Marenco Swisshelicopter globally from facilities in the US and UK.
The composite fuselage and tail rotor, as well as the all-composite main and tail rotor blades, are manufactured using TenCate TC250 and BT250E-6 epoxy resin systems from woven and UD reinforcements along with TenCate's TC235SF surfacing film.
Marenco Swisshelicopter selected this advanced composite solution of TenCate because of their mechanical characteristics, flight pedigree and TenCate’s experience in supporting new aircraft and helicopter programs.
TenCate Cetex® glass / PP thermoplastic laminates were selected by the Polytec Group for the Jaguar F-type AWD to be an integral part of their underbody panel system.
> Easy processing; good adhesion to GMT / (D-)LFT / LWRT
materials combined with excellent drapeability
> Tailored properties by aligned fibres; available in balanced
and directional fabric styles
> Cost effective solution for increasing local part strength
> Good abrasion resistance and impact performance
TenCate's compression moulded composite parts were selected by Bell Helicopter for the world's currently most luxurious helicopter, the Bell 525 Relentless, a fully equipped and comfortable "flying conference room" available mid-2017. In a totally different version, the Bell 525 can also be deployed for a combatting forest fires.
Bell Helicopter is benefiting in its civilian programs from expertise gained in the V-22 Osprey military program. Through the use of TenCate lightweight moulded composite parts, Bell Helicopter is able to make significant cost savings.
Twelve parts of the helicopter, including the access doors and the partition for the engine compartment are made from TenCate Advanced Composites compression molded materials.
To support the growing thermoplastic composites market, investment has been made at the TenCate Advanced Composites Morgan Hill facility in specific testing and analytical equipment.
Recent additions to the TenCate Cetex® thermoplastic UD tape testing facilities include a new high temperature autoclave for specimen laminate preparation and new CNC saws for accurate laminate and coupon cutting.
In addition, an additional C-scan unit is now in use, vertical burn flammability test equipment is available and G1C testing improvements have been made. All of these investments focus on better assisting our customers in generating qualification test results.
TenCate Advanced Composites has over 25 years' experience producing materials for radomes.
We operate positively pressurised enclosed rooms housing the "White Line" machines and equipment dedicated solely to the production of radome prepregs and complementary products. The White Lines never run carbon fibre prepregs, thus assuring superior quality and electrically pure products. A carbon fibre embedded into a radome will heat up in response to an electromagnetic signal and can destroy the matrix around it.
Materials from the White Line are used in antennas, reflectors, conformal radomes, components with embedded de-icing elements, sonar domes, microwave transparent and radar absorbing structures.
Following a significant period of investment in the Langley Mill facility, Nottingham, UK we were proud to unveil our European Centre of Excellence for thermoset technology along with our new UD facility.
We have the capability to spread light weight fibres at high precision. For example, we can spread High Strength 12K to 70gsm. Heavy weight fibres can be spread up to 600gsm using a traditional tow fibre.
Epoxy and cyanate ester matrices are available with Tg's as high as 204ºC (399ºF).
TenCate Advanced Composites works with High Strength, Intermediate and High Modulus carbon fibres. Both PAN and pitch based carbon fibres are available.