Composite manufacturing is at an all-time-high, both in the UK and globally. Demands on businesses are increasing as the need to create stronger, reliable and enduring products shows no sign of waning. The opportune moment to be in the industry you might say?
It’s definitely a great time to work with composites, but manufacturers are feeling the strain. After all, composites require extensive testing and analysis before they’re used. This is not just to prove their inherent strength and lightweight properties, but also to reaffirm the product processes required to make them.
For manufacturers, it’s not just a case of keeping pace with the demand of production, it’s also equally challenging maintaining high testing standards.
This could not be more apparent than in the aerospace & automotive sectors. Designers of these materials for vehicles and planes must conduct in-depth computer and data analysis. These material parameters can be grouped into the static properties and time dependent properties. Without the validation of such tests, the plane or vehicle cannot go into production.
There are companies that support composite manufacturing businesses by providing extensive testing software which speeds up testing time and helps ensure the appropriate standards are met with compliance. However, precise and reliable mechanical hardware is still an essential part of the testing process. The testing of composite materials often produces a considerable amount of carbon fibre dust and debris. This dust and debris is conductive and it can damage electronic equipment, hence it is important to ensure that machine electronics are protected.
Testing composite materials is both technically and commercially demanding. Who knows what processes will be introduced in the future, as the expansion of new markets adopts such materials. Manufacturing businesses are looking for reliable, easy to use testing equipment, which is capable of running a wide range of composite tests quickly and efficiently. This may force companies to lean more on the support of experts in the field, with an in-depth understanding of composites applications, who can advise and help them with their current and future testing needs.