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3M and TenCate Advanced Composites expand agreement

News International-French

24 Oct 2012

3M Advanced Composites and TenCate Advanced Composites USA, Inc. are announcing a strengthening of their relationship in the composite tooling industry.  Building on their prior relationship, 3M and TenCate will jointly develop, market and sell a comprehensive portfolio of tooling resins and prepregs.

“As we further develop our relationship with TenCate, we’re essentially joining forces to deliver a superior performing portfolio of tooling materials to our customers,” said Vic Genco, General Manager and Director, 3M Advanced Composites.  



An initial product, 3M™ Fortified Tooling Prepreg 140, will be launched at SAMPE Tech next week. Subsequent products will include a high temperature bismaleimide (BMI) tooling prepreg developed by 3M and a high temperature BMI Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) resin developed by TenCate. The products will all feature 3M™ Matrix Resin, a proprietary resin technology, which enables the production of stronger and more durable tooling composites.



“There are a limited range of composite tooling material options in the market right now, but with 3M’s innovative resin technology combined with TenCate’s market reach and world class manufacturing capabilities we have an opportunity to accelerate the product pipeline and deliver more value and benefit to customers,” said Joe Morris, President, TenCate Advanced Composites USA, Inc. 



“3M’s new tooling prepreg is a very versatile product. The weave is easy to manipulate into place, it’s nice and tacky, and it drapes really well,” said Quan Pham, Research & Development Manager, Applied Aerospace Structures Corporation.  “Our initial evaluation after 200 cycles, with many excursions to 400°F, indicated to us it’s a very stable material for high temperature applications.”



The first product to be launched is 3M™ Fortified Tooling Prepreg 140, featuring an enhanced epoxy matrix resin for laminate tool manufacturing. With exceptionally high durability, hardness and dimensional stability, 3M Fortified Tooling Prepreg 140 offers benefits for a wide variety of applications, including tooling for aerospace, space structures, military, boat hulls, sporting goods and wind turbine blades.



“We are excited to introduce this product, which has appeal for such a broad number of markets,” said Janet Kirkman, marketing manager, 3M Advanced Composites. “Almost any tooling designer or manufacturer can benefit from increased tool life, design flexibility and manufacturing efficiencies.”



Fortified Tooling Prepreg 140 is created with a patented resin formulation that increases both the fracture toughness and hardness of carbon fiber composite tools, while lowering thermal expansion and almost eliminating exotherm as a design limitation. Made with more than 40 percent by weight silica nanoparticles infused and distributed throughout the matrix, the material delivers features unobtainable from other systems, helping manufacturers create composite tools with greater resistance to microcracking and scratching. While continuous exposure to extreme temperatures often leads to microcracking and edge delamination with other materials, 3M Fortified Tooling Prepreg 140 improves fracture resistance and interlaminar shear strength and maintains a high quality surface finish, significantly extending the life of composite tools and decreasing manufacturing costs.


Tools made with the material demonstrate less springback, shrinkage and thermal expansion, making them more accurate right off the master. Less scuffing and scratching means that tools need less re-work, helping them stay in production. Furthermore, the product enables greater design flexibility, allowing the creation of tools with sharper angles and tighter dimensional tolerances. Additional manufacturing flexibility is added by the material’s ability to be cured under either vacuum or autoclave pressure. With this technology, 3M is expanding the boundaries of composite tooling technology.



About 3M

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs 84,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries.


About TenCate

TenCate Advanced Compositesis a leader in the development and production of thermoplastic and thermoset prepreg composites for various industries. Its product portfolio is incorporated in composite tooling, automotive products, medical equipment and numerous other applications. TenCate Advanced Composites has production facilities and operations in North America, Europe and Asia.



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