We have the building blocks for delivering high value complex composite parts
AUTOMATED DRY CARBON FIBER PREFORMS & OVER BRAIDING
We partner with industry leading manufacturers to leverage benefits of automated dry fiber preforms and over braiding. The methods include braiding, tailored fiber placement, filament winding, and others. Where automated preforms and over braiding are not advantageous, we use automated dry fiber cutting to create fiber patterns for rapid layup
RESIN TRANSFER MOLDING
Resin transfer molding manufacturing allows for use of lower cost materials, including dry fiber and liquid resin, as compared to pre-preg materials. Hawthorn Composites has decades of experience in resin transfer molding using both epoxy and bismaleimide resin systems. We use a proprietary resin transfer molding process that provides necessary levels of control and data logging of infusion temperatures, pressures, and flow rates. Hawthorn Composites resin transfer molding process uses a combination of vacuum and pressure to achieve the highest quality composite parts possible.
VACUUM ASSISTED RESIN TRANSFER MOLDING
Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) is a lower cost method of resin transfer molding. VARTM methodologies rely on a single sided tool strategy where you tool and control the critical part surface and rely on a vacuum bag on the opposing side for laminate consolidation. We have the equipment and knowledge to make your VARTM manufactured parts successfully.
NOVEL TOOLING METHODOLOGIES
Hawthorn Composites, and our sister division Smart Tooling, develop and deploy tooling methodologies that are tailored for the specific needs of the composite part. We have experience in a wide variety of tooling methodologies ranging from conventional to novel and will deploy the most optimal tooling methodology to manufacture the highest quality, and lowest cost, composite product possible.
Shifting to Low-Cost Materials
VARTM vs. Prepreg Carbon Fiber
Conventionally, aerospace composites have been manufactured using pre-impregnated (pre-preg) materials. These pre-preg materials are not only expensive as a raw material, but drive manufacturing costs up by requiring laborious kitting and laminating techniques as well as capital equipment costs by requiring expensive autoclaves for cure. Composite parts manufactured using dry fiber and resin infusion techniques have the potential for significant advantages over their pre-preg equivalents. Those advantages include:
- Raw material cost (¼ - ⅓ the cost of prepreg)
- No need for expensive processing capital (autoclave)
- Indefinite shelf life for dry fiber
- No limit on material out-life (dry fiber vs. pre-preg)
End to End Engineering & Design
Part conversion to Full Production
We begin the process by examining the composite part and its required fit and functions. From there we identify candidate materials and manufacturing processes that optimize cost, quality, and throughput, while meeting the composite part functional requirements. Next, we work with our sister division, Smart Tooling, to engineer and fabricate a tooling solution that most efficiently manufactures the composite part. Hawthorn Composites will then fabricate a pre-production process verification article. This part is inspected and tested to validate the new materials and methods meet the design requirements. Upon successful part validation, production is ramped up to meet serial production needs.
Our team of engineers will design or redesign your composite part to optimize the design and method of manufacture to deliver the best balance between functionality and cost.
Design of Tooling
Leveraging our expertise with Smart Tooling, we’ll design & fabricate the tooling required to produce your composite structure using the best tooling solution possible to further drive down cost and produce a high-value composite.
Our experienced suppliers fabricate the metal molds required to produce the composite part and any other manufacturing aids. The molds are quality inspected to ensure dimensional accuracy and functionality prior to delivery and fabrication.
Production Process Verification
Prior to moving into rate production, Hawthorn Composites, manufactures a pre-production component, or series of components, to be delivered to the customer for inspection & verification.
Hawthorn Composites works with our customers to develop part specific qualification and inspection plans.
Once the pre-production component has been delivered and verified, Hawthorn Composites will move out on rate production. Hawthorn Composites has rigorous quality practices in place to ensure repeatable, high quality craftsmanship.