Shape Machining Ltd has developed a novel method of manufacturing high quality automotive panels using Synergex commingled carbon fibre supplied by Coats.

The process is currently used for niche vehicle applications, but further development is expected to unlock the potential for complex carbon fibre parts to be manufactured at significantly higher volumes.

Synergex is a range of thermoplastic matrix materials commingled with various fibres that can be laid into highly optimised preforms and hot press formed to the finished part shape.

Managing Director, Peter McCool commented “This process shows great potential to save time and cost for our customers. By hot press forming the highly optimised preforms we can manufacture parts considerably quicker than traditional prepreg composite part manufacture.

Having proved the process the next step is to scale up our capability and prove the process is suitable for mid to high volume manufacture.”

Shape developed the process and manufactured the tooling and now plans to offer these services across a wide range of industry sectors.

“We developed this process with the automotive industry in mind, but because of the high volume potential, the minimum amount of waste and the optimised structural benefits of processing long fibres so quickly we think there is considerable opportunity in sports equipment, protective and safety equipment, general transport and many other markets”

SHAPE Machining specialises in machining epoxy tooling block patterns, Rohacell foams and the trimming of carbon fibre parts for the automotive, motorsport and aerospace industry.

SHAPE Engineering offers a full range of design, analysis and project management services to support composite part and tooling projects.

SHAPE Composites supplies thermoset and thermoplastic composite preforms and parts ranging from bespoke autoclave cured carbon parts to larger volumes of hot pressed formed carbon parts.

(image of an automotive wheel arch component)

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