Design

The other side of Advanced Composites.

While more famous for its sophisticated filament winding and composite molding capabilities, Advanced Composites boasts a robust engineering and design department. ACI holds or has held eight patents for a variety of disruptive technologies—including the Universal Pin Ring for low-angle filament winding—while ACI engineers have published and presented eight technical papers at international conferences.

We actualize your ideas for carbon fiber products and other composite structures.

Got a concept but aren’t sure how to take the next step? Advanced Composites engineers work closely with you to bring your ideas to reality. The  Advanced Composites engineering team can take your concept, model and prototype it. Then, we’ll manufacture it using our filament winding, molding or layup technologies. After the composite structure has been produced, we’ll subject it to extensive testing. If need be, we’ll refine and repeat. Once an initial prototype has passed all specified criteria, Advanced Composites Inc. will begin production.

Advanced Composites Inc.: your one-stop composites shop.

Advanced prototyping and design capabilities, combined with the our arsenal of production technologies, allow Advanced Composites Inc. to execute the entire developmental spectrum for our customers, beginning with a basic sketch and ending with a production run of the final composite product. In the intervening phases of development, we’ll employ a variety of sophisticated technologies to ensure structural, aesthetic and mechanical viability.

Computer-aided composites design.

Modeling the structure in a computer-aided design (CAD) program is the first step in the development of a composite product. Advanced Composites engineers use SolidWorks, a standard CAD program in the industry. Our engineers carefully construct a three-dimensional representation of the composite structure, complete with data on material elasticity, plasticity, strength, conductivity and all other relevant properties.

composite stress testStructural analysis of the filament wound or molded composite.

After the structure has been designed in a CAD program, we analyze it with finite element analysis (FEA) software to scrutinize it for potential weaknesses. While SolidWorks has a built-in FEA module, we prefer to use the NEi NASTRAN software for its more sophisticated functionality. Originally developed as a structural analysis software for NASA, NASTRAN is industry state-of-the-art for predicting mechanical stress and strain outcomes in virtually-generated physical objects. Using NASTRAN, Advanced Composites engineers subject the virtual product to a barrage of assessments, looking for any shortcomings.

Based on the FEA findings, the original CAD design may be altered as needed, after which it will be analyzed again.

Prototyping the composite structure.

When enough iterations of the CAD/FEA feedback loop have occurred to produce a viable design (frequently, we need only one iteration, though sometimes as many as three or four), we build a physical model. Depending upon the geometry of the structure, its desired application, and the planned production scale, an Advanced Composites engineer may opt to produce a composite prototype using filament winding, lay-up, compression molding or reaction injection molding as the optimal fabrication system.

Quick turnaround of composite prototypes.

Advanced Composites specializes in speedy prototype production. In most cases, we can have the prototype ready within a week of starting the design process.

Testing the composite prototype.

After filament winding or molding the composite prototype, Advanced Composites Inc. subjects it to a variety of stress tests, endurance tests and other types of physical analysis. In many ways, these tests are redundant of the FEA analysis we conducted earlier on the virtually-modeled product. However, they are absolutely necessary, for we want to physically validate what we have virtually “known.” If the prototype performs as anticipated, we move on to production. If the prototype underperforms, we return to our CAD and FEA phases of development, refine the model, and produce another composite prototype. We complete as many iterations of this cycle as needed, although, rarely do we need to perform more than two, and we commonly hit our performance goals and meet specifications on our first composite prototype.

IMG_1168-1Manufacturing the carbon or fiberglass structure.

After a incipient product has passed the modeling, prototyping and testing phases of development, it is ready for manufacture. Advanced Composites then initiates a production run of market-ready product. These production runs can range in quantity from a few to several thousand pieces, depending upon our your needs, the manufacturing methodology and the demands of the marketplace. The developmental circuit has been completed and a new composite product has been launched.

Advanced Composites Inc. quality assurance.

During filament winding manufacture, compression molding or lay-up, a composite structure can receive a battery of quality assurance checks. After the filament winding or molding process is complete, the composite product is subjected to a variety of quality assurance measures. Depending on the tolerances of a particular application, these can be extremely extensive. Learn more on our quality assurance page.