Stewart's Banbury-based production facility
Stewart Group Holdings, a UK manufacturer of technical plastic moulded products, says it has become the first Tier One supplier in the world to create moulds from soluble plastics.
Having trialled and tested the new process extensively, the company says it can offer this advanced method of production for lightweight, hollow carbon fibre and fibre-reinforced parts.
Stewart says the development means businesses in aerospace, defence, marine and vehicle manufacture can benefit from significant component weight reduction. Aircraft hollow sections, for example, can reportedly be produced from a single piece of carbon fibre instead of multiple parts, by using the core tooling.
Soluble plastics offer huge advantages over traditional moulding methods. Wax and sand cores are notoriously messy and need to be disposed of, while wooden cores need to be burned out. With soluble plastic, once the final product has been cured, the core simply washes away. Traditional plastic cores are left inside the hollow section, which also adds to the final component weight. Stewart says using its cores also eliminates this problem.
Commenting on the new production method for fibre reinforced products, Richard Butler, CEO and Chief Engineer of Stewart Group Holdings, said: “Stewart Group Holdings cores, when used as a tooling core for carbon fibre moulds, increases at a stroke the range of lightweight parts and components we can offer the manufacturing industries. It’s also much cleaner and more precise than traditional tooling methods and reduces the final component weight.”
Stewart says this latest development, coupled with its range of long fibre injection moulded products, allows it to offer a full service supply service to automotive and aerospace customers in particular.