Shape launches ShapeTex preforms

SHAPE Machining has launched the ShapeTex brand for the new and efficient composite preform manufacturing process.

Under the ShapeTex brand, SHAPE offers a capability to manufacture efficient, structurally optimised preforms with minimum waste to suit a wide variety of components across a range of industries.

“We have been working on this technology for several years and have developed it to the point where we can now offer it commercially to customers across a range composite industry sectors,” stated managing director, Peter McCool.

ShapeTex technology is said to enable unparalleled part optimisation with complex local reinforcements. ShapeTex preforms can be manufactured from dry carbon/glass fibre yarns for use in Resin Infusion or RTM processes.

But the manufacture of preforms using SYNERGEX, a commingling of carbon and thermoplastic fibres, unlocks significantly more potential for the high-volume production of composite components.

The SHAPE developed thermoplastic preforms have already been pressed at the SHAPE facility in Witney, Oxfordshire. Further development is planned to optimise cycle times for this simple and efficient process.

“The beauty of this process is that it is highly scalable and can be fully automated,” added McCool.

A ShapeTex preform with SYNERGEX commingled thermoplastic carbon fibre offers multiple advantages over current composite manufacturing methods: Increased optimisation of fibre alignment; Decreased processing time; Higher production volume capability; Reduced waste; Fully automated production process.

“Composite designers are no longer restricted to a simple 0/90 fibre direction,” McCool concluded. “With a ShapeTex preform there is no limit to the level of optimisation, of the laminate, that is possible.”


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