Leicestershire, UK based carbon fibre and speciality composite reinforcements manufacturer Formax has announced that it’s new glass Malitronic Multiaxial machine is now operational and working at full capacity.
In an impressive start to the company’s 2012 strategy for growth in glass fibre markets, the new Karl Mayer Malimo machine installation will increase Formax’ glass multiaxial production by 25%.
Formax says the newly installed Malitronic will make the manufacture of 100” wide multiaxial fabric in 4 ton rolls a reality and that the machine runs twice as fast as standard 50” machines giving an equivalent capacity of 4 x 50” glass multiaxials.
“The Malitronic Multiaxial machine features a batching unit for producing 100” rolls of up to 4 tons. This feature, combined with optimal weft insertion and layer fixation plus an average speed that is twice that of standard 50” machines, means that it can produce an equivalent capacity of 4 x 50” glass multiaxial with the same level of excellent fabric uniformity and technical quality,” Formax said in a statement today.
The new machine is housed within a 500m² production hall at Formax’ headquarters in Leicester where the refurbished building is said to feature sophisticated temperature and humidity controls ensuring the highest quality glass reinforcements are manufactured. Formax has recruited and trained a number of operators and support staff to manage the installation and day to day running of the machine.
In January Formax was granted membership to the UK’s Materials and Structures Technology Science and Technology Centre (MAST STC), the first multiaxial fabric manufacturer to be awarded membership to the alliance making it a significant success for the company.
The MAST STC alliance is tasked with the pursuit of excellence in structures science and technology for defence applications by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). Members of MAST STC will be investigating novel materials and processes and ultimately the research findings applied within operational service.
Formax is assisting the MOD's Armour and Protection group in the development of multiaxial fabrics with a specific focus on ballistics and blast impact protection. The initial concept materials will undergo stringent testing procedures later this year.
In March this year Formax announced it had formed a new research collaboration with the Polymer and Composite Engineering (PaCE) group based at Imperial College in London.
The project will focus on developing the technology of short and long fibre composites in the form of a novel binding chemistry. The findings will improve the processability of carbon preforms for RTM and infusion techniques, but most importantly enhance the mechanical performance of the finished carbon composite.
Author: Billy Hunter