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Tri-Mack expands capabilities to meet aerospace supply chain demand

News International-French

21 Apr 2015

The aerospace industry is thriving and is predicted to continue on an upward trajectory into the next decade. Demand for new aircraft is expected to support annual industry-wide growth of approximately seven percent, an increase of more than 50 percent by 2021.

As the expansion continues, new materials development is emerging as a clear winner in the search for more cost-effective solutions for keeping fuel costs down as passenger-miles soar. Industry customers are increasingly asking their suppliers to provide lighter, yet stronger composite material alternatives to aircraft components that have traditionally been made from metal.

Tri-Mack Plastics Manufacturing Corporation, a manufacturer of high-performance engineered components, has found the formula for meeting their clients’ needs for lower cost, lightweight, high-quality thermoplastic parts and assemblies through a combination of innovative technology, materials expertise and customer collaboration. While other suppliers have downsized and outsourced, the 40 year-old company recently hired almost three dozen new employees, opened a new Advanced Composites Center, and is already planning to expand its onsite facilities in Bristol, RI.

The Advanced Composites Center is dedicated to processing the latest thermoplastic composites (TPCs) that offer Tri-Mack’s customers in aerospace and other industries lightweight, robust, alternatives to heavier, more traditional materials. Key benefits of TPCs include:

  • TPCs are continuous fiber reinforced materials with exceptional mechanical properties. Tri-Mack works with prepreg tape and fabric—unidirectional and woven carbon and glass fibers in a high temperature polymer matrix—PEEK, PPS, PEI, etc.
  • TPCs offer 10x the mechanical properties of injection molded plastics and are up to 70% lighter than metals. 
  • Tri-Mack uses automated equipment to lay-up the unidirectional prepreg tape, consolidate low void laminates and thermoform complex shapes. Lay-ups can be tailored to align fiber orientation to optimize the performance of the finished part.
  • TPCs are processed in minutes, not the hours required for thermoset composites. Unlike thermosets, TPCs’ cost-effective manufacturing does not require freezers, autoclaves, or hand lay-ups.
  • Tri-Mack produces hybrid components that combine the performance of TPCs with injection molding to create complex assemblies. Hybrids feature the key advantages of both processes: the outstanding mechanical properties of thermoplastic composites and the low cost of injection molding.

Tri-Mack recently completed a project to qualify over 200 part numbers for a large aerospace OEM—at an accelerated schedule. By converting the parts from steel to TPC, the company was also able to achieve an average weight savings of 40% percent for its customer.

Tri-Mack provides their clients with access to an impressive technology lineup—which, in addition to their Advanced Composites Center, includes injection and compression molding, precision multi-axis machining, tool making, and a robotic injection molding cell—all backed by years of experience. From design for manufacturing to metal-to-plastic conversion, Tri-Mack’s main objective is that each part they produce meets their clients’ exact needs, whatever the materials involved.

In addition to serving the aerospace industry, Tri-Mack also provides high-performance parts for critical applications in the chemical processing, medical, electronics, and industrial equipment markets.

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