Composites lie at the heart of Polar Manufacturing. Be it carbon fibre, glass fibre or aramid fibre, we are able to process a multitude of prepreg materials through our state-of-the-art facility.
With dedicated departments and highly skilled technicians working in our purpose-built facility, these advanced materials are meticulously hand crafted into high quality components that meet both our customer’s expectations and our own stringent internal standards.
Our composites processes
The composite materials Polar process are widely known in the industry as prepregs. Material is delivered to site in rolls of woven carbon cloth suspended (or pre-impregnated) within a resin matrix. The resin typically processed on site is Epoxy however other resin systems can be used depending on the application.
The benefits of using carbon fibre:
• It provides a higher strength-to-weight ratio than traditional materials such as steel and aluminium.
• Has a low thermal expansion but with a high tolerance.
• Highly resistant to corrosive chemicals.
• Engineered correctly it is a very stiff, hard wearing material.
• Very versatile and can be used for complex shapes and designs.
• Attractive appearance in it’s own right which can be enhanced by adding coatings.
• Can be integrated with other materials such as steel, wood, plastics and concrete.
Rolls of prepreg material are kept at a minimum of -18°C in dedicated commercial (volume) freezers.
Material is cut to shape using one of two conveyor fed ply cutting machines. Nests of material are optimised to reduce scrap while maintaining aesthetic and functional fibre orientations.
The mould surface and each individual ply is visually inspected by the laminator to check for imperfections. Plies are systematically laid into the mould to the required thickness with local area plies, bootlace strips and inserts as required.
Once the laminating is complete, the moulds are wrapped in a release film and breather cloth before being carefully placed into a custom vacuum bag. Through a vacuum connector air is expelled pulling the composite material up to the surface of the mould tool. A sealed bag is integral to achieving a successful part.
Bagged moulds are placed in the autoclave and put through a pressurised cure at 90psi. Thermocouples on specific parts withing the clave help control the temperature ramp up and dwell period. During this stage of the process, as the resin heats it flows across the surface of the mould and eventually cures in a hardened solid state.
Cured composite parts are removed from the bagging and then using bespoke demould tools are carefully extracted from the mould. Moulds are thoroughly cleaned to go back through another laminating stage, while the part progresses forwards through the process.
Using internal and/or customer specific inspection criteria every composite part is then inspected. At mid inspection the quality department are visually inspecting for any surface imperfections and evidence of full consolidation
Scribe lines on the part are delicately followed to trim the cured composite panels to their final shape. A range of air powered grinders, diamond coated discs and other specialist equipment are used.
If a composite part requires bonding, be it upper and lower skins, or B surface mounting bracketry our bonding department using a range of fixturing and structural adhesives to accurately bond components and assemblies together. Stringent protocols for surface preparation and adhesion are followed.
If a composite part requires coating it will be paint prepped and coated. Read more here on our Spray Coating page.
A final full inspection of each composite part is carried out to ensure no deviations to the part specification have occurred during processing. Critical forms or dimensions can be accurately captured using our 3D laser scanning equipment.
Each composite part is carefully wrapped with protective packing materials. Part specific packing instructions ensure that parts are packed the same way.
Delivery is either through our dedicated vans and delivery personnel, or through reliable courier options. Polar Manufacturing are able to deliver widely across the UK and globally!