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Custom Molding Composites – What Does That Really Mean?

Posted by Scott Reeve on May 20, 2020

Shelter 2.1 (1)The communication shelters use composite panels with a custom molding process and materials to ensure secure communications inside the shelter and prevent electronic eavesdropping.

Custom molding is a catchall phrase you commonly hear in the composite industry. It’s subject to interpretation and can apply to a lot of different situations. For example, if a part is manufactured as a prototype or one-off, it falls under the category of custom molding. Generally though, we’re talking about large part quantities produced to customer specifications. In other cases, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) can create value for an end user by using a composite part in a critical system application. Oftentimes, these “custom molded” parts have been in production for decades.

At Creative Composites Group, an entity comprised of Creative Pultrusions, Composite Advantage and Kenway, we take a slightly different approach to defining custom molded parts. Both the parts and our business relationships tend to fall into two categories. Standard FRP structural shapes such as angles, channels and beams and products like our FRP bridge systems, waterfront infrastructure and rail applications (to name a few) comprise one group and can be easily found on our website. The other group is reserved for custom products we make that are not on our website because these projects are proprietary to our customers.

That said, we provide a wide range of composite manufacturing processes and the know-how to help customers match the right process with the right part. Its’ been our experience that companies find the most value in our capability to both design and build the parts they need. Most of our customers are experts when it comes to their systems, solutions and services, but they will be the first to acknowledge their lack of understanding when it comes to the part details their systems need. With just a concept and performance requirements, we can design a part that works for the customer. The typical approach is concept, design, prototype, testing, initial production run, and long term production. In some instances, the customer owns the tooling and the design; sometimes the manufacturer does. It depends on the business arrangement that works best for both parties. The more complicated the part and the tougher the requirements, the more value we deliver.

We have supplied custom parts as long as 30 feet and up to 5,000 pounds in weight. Quantities include short runs and high volume jobs and pretty much anything in between.

For very large parts in small to medium quantities, Composite Advantage’s vacuum infusion process is the most economical. Kenway filament winds cylindrical shapes for small to large quantities as well as hand layup for a diverse range of shapes and sizes in small to medium quantities. Pultrusion is ideally suited to large part numbers, making Creative Pultrusions the “go to” for high volume production of constant cross-section, continuous parts.

For companies that are interested in the benefits of FRP composites such as light weight, corrosion resistance, long life, non-conductivity and design flexibility in a custom(er) specific molded part, it is important to work with a supplier that has advanced materials design and manufacturing experience. Contact us today. We’d love to talk with you about how we can custom mold products that will make your system successful.

Topics: FRP, custom molding and OEM products

Scott Reeve

AboutScott Reeve

Scott is the Director of Marketing for Creative Composites Group. For over 35 years, he has developed new applications using FRP composites; especially in the infrastructure sector. In 2005, he founded Composite Advantage, which is now part of CCG.

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