Composites Manufacturing

Massive Composite Cooling Fan Shrouds Provided by ABLE

Within several years of the introduction of fiberglass composites to the US market in the 1950s, ABLE embraced the new materials technology. Over 60 years later, we provide world class composite components and complete value added assemblies ranging in size from parts that will fit in your hand to massive super-structures spanning 100 feet or more. We often provide these components fully primed and painted or molded-in color gel coat and buffed to Class A automotive standards ready to install at our OEM customer's facility.

To see our custom fiberglass composite manufacturing operation in action, please watch the following video.

Design Engineering for Composite Production

Our engineering staff utilizes both 3D and 2D customer data in Standard or Metric format. In the case where only an existing part or model is available, we can reverse engineer and develop new 3D surface models. We have invested a large amount of capital and training for highly accurate 7-axis laser scanning and touch type metrology coordinate measuring machines (CMM). We can measure large volumes by "leap frog" set-up around the part. Entire vehicles, bodies, inner structures and super-structures down to the smallest of features can be measured in 3D space as you see it. We can then incorporate new designs, features and elements as required by our customer to keep them on the leading edge of industrial design. Full or partial scale product models can be produced using outside readily available Rapid Prototype service firms. These prototype parts can be finished and handled by the customer for evaluation of the design prior to entering the pilot or production tooling phase.

Customer Supplied 3D Part Model, Compensated by ABLE for Mold Model

Depending on the customer's requirements for dimensional accuracy, repeatability, strength, surface finish, color, production volume and other attributes, we will identify the best process method and tooling to achieve the production goal with the least capital investment (maximum value). We have process methods ranging from conventional Open Mold, to Closed Mold film type Vacuum Bagging, up thru advanced Closed Mold techniques including LITE RTM and Vacuum Assisted RTM. These methods support production volume capabilities in low (less than 1,000 parts/year) to medium (less than 10,000 parts/year) volume.

ABLE's 5-Axis CNC at Work Producing Ditch Witch Mold Pattern

Patterns, Master Molds and Production Molds

Using customer supplied 3D model data or generating the design in-house as explained above, we can then develop the 3D surface CAD geometry required to design new tooling from scratch. This tooling geometry is compensated for the type of tooling we will build, including shrink factors. Our in-house mold capabilities include six (6) dual pallet 5-axis fully CNC large machining centers with automatic tool changer. We can produce master patterns with rapid turn-around and without high cost adders.

Laser Scanning Mold at ABLE using Romer 7 Axis Arm with Scanner & Inspection Software

Customers that have existing mold tooling are welcome to send us details and pictures of the tooling along with your inquiry for production.

Analyzing Deviation of Actual Mold versus Part Design

Part Production

When building composite parts using Open Mold process, we offer both sheet lamination (strongest) and chopper spray-up (fastest). And we offer those processes in both manual (by hand) operation or full automatic operation using GE Fanuc P200 Robot, depending on customer volume and requirement. We can insert metal brackets, reinforcements, fastener hardware and other components prior to or during molding, or bond these components after molding.

When building composite parts using Closed Mold process, we fit the glass and composite mat to the mold by hand, often in die pre-cut shapes. Likewise, we can insert metal brackets, reinforcements, fastener hardware and other components prior to molding, or bond these components after molding.

Resins, fiberglass and composite sheets, core mats and other integral components are carefully selected to meet customer specifications for strength, flexibility, chemical resistance, heat & flame resistance, color & fade resistance and other attributes. ABLE's technical reach includes composite chemists and materials engineers that allow us to achieve customer target while managing raw materials costs to a minimum.

Parts as large as 40 feet long x 12 feet wide can be built as single components, then assembled at the job site to create constructs of massive proportions.

ABLE Associate Constructing Glass Mat and Bonding Strips in LITE RTM Closed Mold

ABLE Associates Performing Hand Layup of Fiberglass Cloth on Large Open Mold

Part Trim & Grind

Composites molded parts are often trimmed after removal from the mold. Trimming (sometimes referred to as Grinding) is required when there is excess material around the outer periphery or run off zones of the part where the resin and fiberglass materials taper. ABLE offers three trim methods: 1) Freehand Trim with Guideline Mark, 2) Hand Trim with Mechanical Guide Fixture, and 3) Automated Trim using 5 Axis CNC Router and Workholding Fixture. ABLE Engineers will determine the best solution based on part design and customer specification.

CNC 5-Axis Twin Pallet THERMWOOD Trimming Interior Panels of Bombardier Train for Chicago's 5000 'L' Line

ABLE Associate Performing Freehand (Guideless) Trim

ABLE Associate Performing Trim with Fixture Guide

Production & Quality Control

ABLE follows industry leading ISO9001:2008 standards for product development. Our stringent adherence to Advanced Product Quality Program (APQP) management process guidelines insures programs launch on time and within budget. We inspect incoming material assuring certifications are met. Initial Sample Inspection Report (ISIR) of finish workpiece samples are inspected in-house up to Level 5 Pre-Production Approval Process (PPAP). Once Part Submission Warranty (PSW), Pilot (P0) and Mass Production. We have a six-sigma black belt trained staff to ensure we maintain quality standards on-going and support after-sale warranty.

ABLE Supplied the End Bonnet for Over 400 Kawasaki built R160 Subway Cars for the New York City Subway

ABLE won the Award for Composite Excellence (ACE) at the CAMX Expo Trade Show.

ABLE Associates Receive Quality Award for Kawasaki R160 Bonnet

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Additional Capabilities

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