Overmolding as enabler for composites, aerospace to automotive

CCP Gransden can make 50 to 100,000 parts/yr economically viable using PEEK, PPS, PEI or PA. CCP Gransden (Belfast, Northern Ireland) has been in the Advanced Engineering sector for over a century.  Forty of those years have been specifically in the manufacture of advanced composites, beginning with large glass fiber-reinforced structures (2-3m diameter) for harsh environments. In 2012, the company identified opportunities for growth through the use of new advanced technologies and the manufacture of lightweight thermoplastic composites. “There was a lot of interest from both the aerospace and automotive markets,” says Scott King, Strategic Partnership Manager. “We saw a fit where we could offer improved performance to our customers using new innovative processes.” One of the opportunities which CCP Gransden started to explore was overmolding. It worked with Engel (Schwertberg, Austria) through the local office Engel UK Ltd. (Warwick) to install vduo 1100 workcell and develop this into a state of the art high-volume advanced composite production system.

He notes there was a challenge initially because the aerospace industry wanted to work with polyetherimide (PEI), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK), while automotive wanted polyamide (PA, nylon). “So we began working with PEEK and polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), developing a significant expertise.” He says it only took one day for the company to move from PEEK to PA. “PEEK has a narrow processing window, to get good flow from the injector into the mold tool. The appropriate heat distribution over the tool is very critical.” After succeeding in this, processing PA seemed relatively simple.

“Each component manufactured in our cell has full process traceability thanks to our data logging capability,” he points out. “This means that we can effectively give each component a birth certificate to provide confidence to our clients that each component is manufactured via a standardized, repeatable process per AS9100 standards.”

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thumbnail courtesy of cccp-gransden.com