Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pultrusion: Tooling and Prototype Costs

The pultrusion process is known as the most cost effective method of manufacturing FRP composite profiles. this is because once a pultrusion machine is up and running, there is little labor involved. However, in prototyping of profiles manufactured by pultrusion, costs can be extremely high. The largest cost being the manufacturing of a precision ground die (although this is a one-time cost).

Other fixed costs in pultrusion include tooling, set-up, and clean up when finished. These costs are present whether 10 feet, or 10,000 feet are pultruded.

To help lower prototyping costs, Virginia Tech has developed a
"Novel and cost effective pultrusion die technology streamlines the construction processes and reduces tooling costs by as much as 11%. Lead times are cut by almost 50%.

Technology utilizes rapid prototyping and tooling techniques to produce shaping elements comprising the die core with an exterior core housing constructed from readily available pre-cut metal bar stock."

This technology is available for license from the University, and for more information please visit their website here.

Photo Credit: Ebert Composites Corporation

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