Multi-Axial Inc. has created materials preimpregnated with thermoplastic matrix resin for direct layup into a tool for uncommonly quick curing.
Containing nylon 12/12, the StructurPly thermoplastic prepreg can cure in two to four minutes at 385° F, compared with three to eight hours for a typical thermoset composite. Using StructurPly for composite components ``saves up to 60 percent of fabrication costs,'' said President Ray Williams.
``Old materials are too costly and too slow to process. We have to make the product differently. We make brand-new materials,'' he said.
Multi-Axial, which employs eight, has invested $1 million since May 2003 in proving the concept and began shipping product in late July. The firm has committed to invest as much as $5 million in material manufacturing equipment for installation in a 25,000-square-foot facility in San Clemente, Calif., by July. Multi-Axial will relocate there in July from its 10,000-square-foot site in Huntington Beach.
A private offering to fund the equipment purchase is under way, and an initial public offering is proposed for early 2005, Williams said.
Multi-Axial introduced two families of engineered nonwoven products under the StructurPly and TowStrand brands. In addition to the thermoplastic grades, StructurPly has uniaxial and multiaxial versions for thermoset prepregs for sporting goods and boat-building uses. TowStrand comes as a uniaxial reinforcement or prepreg to strengthen structural members such as engineered wood beams.