Composite Product Development Services
"Convert rough ideas into test-worthy composite prototypes ... and in turn successful composite product launches."
CSS' Composite Product Development & Process Development services focus on fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite applications with challenging shapes and fiber architecture including structures with:
- Complex Curvature
- Irregular Hollow Cavities
- Nested or Mating Components
- Radical Cross Section Changes
- Closed Profiles (e.g., Hoops, Rings)
- Inserts or Co-Molded Components
CSS conducts material form, material layup or placement, tooling, and manufacturing trade studies to identify optimum solution(s).   Computer Aided Design (CAD), composite laminate theory, and basic Finite Element Analyses (FEA) are utilized to predict and optimize design performance.   Prototype fabrication trials, in addition to serving as manufacturing proof of concept, present an opportunity to optimize process parameters. FRP composite subcomponent and/or prototype testing is used to further refine the design before setting up domestic composite production lines or establishing a reliable overseas composite production source.
CSS was tasked to design and develop a lightweight FRP composite spool for use in a performance sporting goods application.   The composite part had to perform like the incumbent machined aluminum spool, mate with existing hardware, and visually communicate a high end product story.
Radical shape changes and high out of plane load conditions made for a challenging composite product development effort.   CSS conducted several design and manufacturing trade studies before settling on a viable solution; a pultruded hollow composite core bonded inside a bladder molded composite shell.
Braided biaxial sleeving provided continuous reinforcement from the first flange rim down and through the small diameter hub and back up to the opposite flange rim.   A strategically reinforced sandwich construction in each flange provided the required out of plane stiffness and strength.
Prototypes were successfully fabricated and testing to demonstrate concept feasibility.   CSS' composite spool design was found to be 30-40% lighter than its aluminum counterpart.   Meanwhile the carbon fiber outer braid layer provided the desired visual story.
CSS was given the challenge to develop a lightweight and visually appealing FRP composite design and economical manufacturing solution for a highly loaded lightweight 12 ft tall curved davit with a 6 ft reach.   In addition to a reasonably compact shipment size and weight mandate the davit had to be easily assembled by 2 or fewer people without the use of a lift or crane.
Finite Element Analyses (FEA) coupled and manufacturing trade studies yielded a three (3) section assembly as the most efficient solution; two hollow tapered straight sections bridged by a tapered curved center section via rectangular ferrule and socket joints.
Conventional 2D fiberglass fabric reinforcements were used to build up straight section preforms while fiberglass braided sleeves were used as the primary reinforcement in the curved center section preform. The sections were infused using Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) in OML clamshell tooling to produce a smooth, well defined exterior surface.   Tooling inserts were employed to define critical IML surfaces features such as the joint sockets.
Less than 100 lbs of GFRP composite material was used to fabricate the lightweight, easy to handle davit sections.   Field assembly consisted of bolting the bottom section to a steel base followed by assembling the remaining two sections while standing on a ladder.
The lightweight GFRP composite davit assembly passed both static and dynamic safe operating load tests with tip deflections well within design limits and exceeded 3 times the safe operating load.
FRP composite product design or production related questions?   Please contact us to discuss your composite program needs.