Hybrid composite moulds reduce weight and lead times

24th January 2018
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
Hybrid composite moulds reduce weight and lead times


Provider of layup tooling for composite aerostructures, Ascent Aerospace has introduced HyVarC, a patent-pending Hybrid InVar and Composite mold. HyVarC layup tooling offers a cost effective, light weight, short lead time solution for prototype and development applications.

Sample HyVarC tools will be on display at Ascent’s stand at JEC World 2018 in Paris, booth R86 in Hall 5; at AeroDef Manufacturing in Long Beach, California, 27th-28th March 2018, booth 624; and at SAMPE 2018 in Long Beach, California, 21st-24th May 2018.

HyVarC combines a thin Invar backup structure and facesheet with a bonded, high temperature composite working surface. The resulting tool is 50% lighter with a 20% shorter lead time than a traditional Invar layup mould, while maintaining the same superior vacuum integrity and dimensional precision.

The hybrid mould capitalises on the desirable performance characteristics of Invar and composites to offer a suitable layup mold for prototype aerospace parts.

More than 20% shorter lead time
At half the thickness of a traditional Invar mold, the thin Invar backup structure takes less time to weld and manufacture. It serves as both the master mould and the deliverable mould, eliminating the time and cost of creating a second composite backup structure. Lead times are reduced by at least 20%, compared to an all-Invar or all-composite tool.

50% lighter than an all-Invar mold
Thin Invar, and the resulting lighter weight, is easier to handle when transporting the tool within the facility. It has thermal mass benefits, for faster autoclave cycles each time the customer is curing a part. As Invar is a commodity by weight, raw material savings can be passed along to the customer.

Leak performance and dimensional precision
The machined composite working surface offers better dimensional accuracy than net-mould composite tooling, while the Invar structure provides vacuum integrity and durability. A part fabricated on a HyVarC mould is bagged to the Invar facesheet, which provides vacuum reliability that is independent of the composite surface and does not degrade with age or thermal cycling.

Easily reconfigurable surface
The composite working surface is easily re-machined to support modifications for rapid prototyping and R&D applications. A damaged surface can be repaired with material add (layup) and subtract (re-machine) operations. The base mould can be reused by burning off the composite working surface and laying up an entirely new surface.

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