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New automated cutter means increased productivity for Formaplex

News International-French

29 Jun 2015

To cope with increased demand for high quality composite components Formaplex Ltd, has just installed a Blackman and White Genesis high speed automated CNC cutting machine.

The Hampshire-based dynamic manufacturing group employs over 300 staff across 3 sites and specialises in the manufacture of lightweight components and tooling for the prestige automotive, aerospace, defence, F1 and commercial industries.

“As with many companies supplying high tech industries such as motorsport and aerospace, we have experienced a huge growth in the demand for composite materials to both reduce weight and increase strength” commented Joe Mason, Composites Production Manager. “Cutting carbon fibre and glass pre-preg material was done manually using knives and rulers, but as this was very labour intensive and time consuming, it was essential that we automate the processes to cope with this increased demand.”

Accuracy and repeatability are critical when cutting composite fabrics as small differences in the pattern can change the properties of the finished product. Blackman and White have many years experience working with composites and were able to supply a cutting machine that was easy to use and had the precision and flexibility so Formaplex could improve both productivity and quality of the finished kits.

The Genesis 2300 automated cutter has a 1.6 metre wide vacuum bed which locks the material in place for fast and accurate cutting. Nominally 2.8 metres in length, the bed is conveyorised so it can also cope with larger lengths of materials. Intuitive software automatically nests intricate patterns and calculates the most efficient layout to minimise wastage while the computer controlled blade cuts the material at speeds of up to 1200mm/sec.

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