Overseas Composite Production FAQs
Q:   Are overseas composite factories ISO certified?
Yes, in fact most factories are ISO and AS certified and some carry automotive, aviation, and medical product certifications.
Q:   Do overseas composite factories have in-house product test capability?
Yes, common rheological and mechanical coupon level testing can be performed in most factories.   Custom product specific test methods are routinely developed and used for production Quality Control.
Q:   Can I specify a particular composite material for my application?
A wide variety of composite reinforcements, resin systems, woven fabrics, braided sleeves, hotmelt prepregs, and adhesive systems are readily available from local distributors.   Specialty materials, material forms, and material systems can be imported from suppliers in Japan, Europe, and USA to satisfy product design requirements.
Q:   Do overseas composite factories make their own prepreg?
Some factories still produce solvent based prepregs for low end composite applications.   Mid to large size factories often make their own hotmelt prepreg to satisfy the bulk of their production needs.
Q:   What are some common overseas prepreg Fiber Areal Weights (FAW)?
Carbon: 75, 100, 125, 150 g/m²
Fiberglass: 110, 130, 150 g/m²
Q:   What is the most common prepreg resin system?
Most in-house and locally sourced prepregs are a toughened 120°C (250°F) to 150°C (300°F) cure epoxy resin system.   Higher temperature resin systems and custom resin formulations may be sourced from local suppliers or imported.
Q:   What FRP composite manufacturing methods are available?
Table Rolling (Roll Wrapping), Compression Molding, Bladder Inflation Molding, Autoclave Processing, Resin Infusion, Pultrusion, Filament Winding
Q:   Do any overseas composite factories mold thermoplastic composite parts?
Yes, some factories have high temperature platen presses capable of processing fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite products.
Q:   Is there a minimum annual production volume requirement?
Minimum annual production volume is dependent on part size and complexity but 5,000 units/yr or greater is recommended when sourcing overseas.
Q:   Why is annual production volume important?
Continuous production line operation is the ultimate goal for product consistency and product quality management.   Conversely stop and start production with long gaps between orders is the least desirable.
Larger production volumes spread over longer production runs allow the vendor and CSS to effectively manage the workforce and ensure product quality.
Q:   What FRP composite finishing options are available?
Dip Coating, Spray Finishes, Water Transfer Printing, Decals, and Screen Printing are commonly used.
Q:   What are typical production order lead times?
Order volume and tooling availability drive build lead times but 30 days is common.   Another 30-35 days is typical for ocean freight and land delivery.
Q:   What is the typical overseas composite production cost savings?
Landed cost savings can be 10-50% with the higher cost savings associated with more labor intensive manufacturing operations.
Q:   What is the cost of overseas versus domestic production tooling?
Depending on complexity, overseas tooling is 25-75% less expensive.
Q:   Will the vendor provide a product warranty?
Vendors will warranty product against material and workmanship defects provided samples of the defective product are returned for inspection.
Q:   What about product, process, and customer confidentiality?
CSS will abide by all NDA terms and obtain Client permission before disclosing any confidential detail to a third party overseas vendor.   However, due to high worker turnover rates and legal indifference, CSS cautions against sharing highly sensitive information.
A safe practice is to obtain product patent protection in the intended country of sale prior to working with an overseas vendor.
Additional overseas composite manufacturing information is available in Overseas Composite Manufacturing & Procurement Liaison Services.
Please Contact Us to discuss your medium to high volume FRP composite sourcing need or learn more about CSS' Overseas Composite Manufacturing & Procurement Liaison Services.