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Hexcel showcases composite innovations for skis

Technologies on display will include: HexPly M78.1 fast-curing prepreg, HiMax engineered multiaxial reinforcements, and Polyspeed pultruded components.

15th January 2018

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Stamford, CT


Hexcel will be promoting its leading range of composite materials for skis, snowboards and other high-performance winter sports equipment at ISPO Munich 2018, which takes place from 28-31 January. Technologies on display will include: HexPly M78.1 fast-curing prepreg, HiMax engineered multiaxial reinforcements, and Polyspeed pultruded components.

A key supplier to the winter sports market for more than 40 years, Hexcel says it understands the unique requirements of this fast-moving industry, where the drive for higher performance means manufacturers continuously develop improved designs to exploit technological advances.

“Hexcel’s innovations in epoxy resins, carbon fibre fabrics, prepregs, laminates, pultruded profiles and polyurethane systems are enabling the manufacture of lighter, stronger and more durable skis and snowboards to answer the needs of world-class competitors, as well as the demanding sporting enthusiast, the manufacturer says.

HexPly prepreg range

At ISPO this year, Hexcel will showcase the latest addition to its HexPly prepreg range, which helps ski manufacturers to reduce production cycle times. HexPly M78.1 features a fast-curing epoxy resin matrix and is available with carbon, glass or aramid fibre reinforcements. It cures in just seven minutes at 120°C, yet it has a long storage out life of two weeks at room temperature, meaning there is often no need for freezer storage, saving time and energy.

HexPly M78.1 is a low tack system making it easy to handle. It is also said to provide excellent adhesion to auxiliary and core materials including aluminium, wood, thermoplastics and elastomers. “Customers are finding that this new system provides greater flexibility in ski manufacture, enhancing the process and the quality of the final product,” the company reports.

HiMax multiaxial fabrics

Hexcel’s HiMax multiaxial fabrics are said to offer significant weight advantages for manufacturers of skis and other sporting equipment, where every extra gram of weight is critical in improving performance. Hexcel’s fibre-spreading capability allows the development of ultra-lightweight carbon multiaxials and the fibres can be placed in different axes to optimize the performance of the finished laminate, according to the manufacturer.

Hexcel has been a key supplier to the winter sports market for more than 40 years. © Hexcel

HiMax carbon multiaxials are available in a wide range of fabric styles, with weights per ply from as low as 50 g/m2, fibre orientations from 22.5° through to 90° in up to four layers, and a wide range of fibre types from 3k upwards. Hexcel's Research & Technology team collaborates closely with customers to develop fabrics optimized for their individual application and processing technique. A recent project involved the creation of a bespoke range of carbon triaxial reinforcements for a custom freeride ski brand, helping the customer deliver a product with a lightweight, soft flex and reactive ride whilst retaining strength and durability.

Polyspeed pultruded profiles

Following the acquisition of Structil in October 2017, Hexcel’s product offering now includes Polyspeed pultruded profiles produced at Vert-le-Petit, France. This latest addition brings expertise in the pultrusion of high performance unidirectional and orientated profiles, further strengthening Hexcel’s development capability and technologies.

Polyspeed pultruded profiles are used in several sports and marine applications including walking and ski poles, sail battens, stiffeners for skiffs and racing boats, kites, arrows, and stabilising and extension devices for bows and crossbows.

Constant section pultruded and pull wound profiles are produced in a continuous process with a variety of sections including tubes, rods and flat sections using carbon, glass, quartz and basalt fibres.  Hexcel will show a small part of their pultruded product range at ISPO Munich 2018.

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