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:   Is composite material availability limited to local suppliers?
A wide variety of composite reinforcements, resin systems, woven fabrics, braided sleeves, hotmelt prepregs, and adhesive systems are readily available from local distributors.   However, special raw materials, material forms, and material systems are frequently imported from locations such as Japan and USA to satisfy product design requirements.
Q:   Do overseas composite factories make their own prepreg?
Most factories still produce solvent based prepregs for lower end products.   Mid to large factories make standard and custom hotmelt prepregs in-house for the bulk of their composite production.
Q:   What are some common overseas prepreg Fiber Areal Weights (FAW)?
Carbon: 75, 100, 125, 150 g/mē
Fiberglass: 110, 130, 150 g/mē
Q:   What are some common overseas prepreg resin systems?
Epoxy is the dominant resin system for in-house prepreg production and locally sourced prepreg.   Epoxy, vinyl ester, and polyester resin systems are available for non-prepreg based manufacturing methods.
Q:   What FRP composite manufacturing methods are available?
Table Rolling (Roll Wrapping), Compression Molding, Bladder Inflation Molding, Resin Infusion, Pultrusion, and 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 Painting, Water Transfer Printing, Decal Application, Screen Printing
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?
After considering shipping and duty related expenses, net cost savings can be 10-50% depending on manufacturing labor.
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.
The best 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 learn more about CSS' Overseas Composite Liaison Services or to discuss your FRP composite program needs.