CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer) tooling offers excellent value for larger volume production runs where hand lay-up production methods are utilised to manufacture parts. The low thermal expansion of a CFRP tool is perfect for applications where highly accurate repeatable component geometry is required and the lightweight nature of CFRP makes it an excellent material choice for moulding larger composite components.
CFRP moulds are a good balance between cost and re-usability. For larger components CFRP moulds are typically cheaper than an aluminium mould and capable of higher component manufacture quantity than tooling board moulds. When curing at elevated temperatures, a CFRP tool has much lower expansion due to its very low CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion) than an aluminium mould, leading to higher geometric consistency between parts manufactured in the moulds.
We laminate to a 5.2mm standard thickness but we can produce thicker moulds if increased durability is required. CFRP moulds provide an excellent surface finish, are lightweight and are great for complex geometries. Our supplier network contains autoclaves that can cure CFRP moulds up to a size of 10m x 3m.
Additionally, Plyable offers GRP (Glass Reinforced Polymer) moulds which offer a slight cost saving over CFRP moulds and are best suited for production runs of components where an ambient cure temperature is used, such as resin infusion or wet-lay.
A CFRP mould is suitable for manufacturing composite components using these processes:
CFRP moulds are made by creating a pattern of the component using another material typically epoxy tooling board. The mould is formed by laminating re-preg carbon fiber onto the pattern and curing the resin.
Plyable takes your component CAD model and tools are designed.
Epoxy tooling board patterns are manufactured to the correct geometry on a 5-axis CNC mill.
The pre-preg composite material is laminated by hand in layers on the pattern until the desired thickness / strength of mould is achieved.
The laminate stack in cured under pressure in an autoclave. The assembled mould is then cured a second time to harden to the required service temperature (Tg).
Moulds are trimmed and polished to a high-gloss finish.
Inspected for quality and shipped.