Integran News Blog

Nanovar lightweight and durable tooling technology ready for scale up

Posted on Tue, May 22, 2012

describe the imageUMECO posted the press release below for our Nanovate NV coated (aka Nanovar) composite tooling for high lifespan aerospace carbon fiber composite part production.  Although they call the finished product "Carbovar" the idea is the same.  We take a fully dense nanocrystalline invar that is near a tool steel for hardness, but has good elasticity, and make it into a very thin (200 microns or 0.008") skin that sits overtop of the carbon fiber face sheet.  This means that there is no need to remove voids from the carbon face sheet as the Nanovate coating is providing the entire sealing surface.

Integran is not restricted from appling our nanocrystalline invar (Nanovate NV) with other partners and welcomes interested parties for commercializing tooling or licensing this unqiue plating technology for tooling, or other plating or electroforming applications (low thermal expansion (CTE) invar waveguides etc.).

Game-changing Carbovar tooling combines the hardness, durability and damage tolerance of a nano-metal coating (already significantly greater than that of standard Invar), with the lightweight, low thermal mass of carbon composite materials. Closely matched CTE and strong adhesion between the Nanovate NV coating and Umeco’s LTM tooling systems ensures that highly accurate tooling can be manufactured and that the ultra-hard surface remains attached to the composite through its extended production life.

Since the award winning technology was launched in 2010, Umeco has combined broad customer trialling of Carbovar tooling with further enhancement of the nano-metal coating developed by Integran and continued refinement of mould manufacturing techniques. The latest example is a tool for a component for a Martin-Baker ejection seat (see pictures 2 and 3), which is currently undergoing extended production trials. This tool is on display on Umeco stand 217 at SAMPE Baltimore.

From a cost perspective, Carbovar generally sits below the expense of a standard Invar tool and above that of a carbon composite tool. However, Carbovar tools are manufactured from an existing master model, which significantly reduces the cost of subsequent tool builds and makes using Carbovar instead of Invar economical in the long run. In addition, the significant enhanced durability offered by Carbovar further reduces the tooling cost per part.

Currently the maximum mould size achievable is roughly 6.6 ft x 6.6 ft, and Umeco and Integran continue to provide production tooling within these confines. However the technology has now matured to such an extent that Umeco, through its newly formed Tooling business stream based in Derby (UK) and Toulouse (France), are seeking to scale up size and exploitation of this novel technology.

To discover what the one name in composites brings to the industry, please visit us on stand 217 at SAMPE Baltimore. 

Interested in learning more?  Please get in touch!!


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Tags: Aerospace, Composite Lay-up Tooling, Low CTE, Licensing