Ian Handscome, Composites Manager, explains their work flow process before SigmaNEST wasted a lot of time and material. “We cut the resin impregnated carbon fiber and lay this up on the pattern to produce a mold about 6mm thick”, explains Handscome. “Making the mold from carbon fiber ensures that it expands and contracts at the same rate as the part, guaranteeing accuracy.”
Selecting A Nesting Tool
Tests showed a material usage reduction from 6 to 4 sheets with SigmaNEST – significantly better than others being evaluated. “Carbon fiber is costly so avoiding waste is a priority,” Handscombe added. “Initial waste rates were around 40%. SigmaNEST has halved these figures, saving us about £70,000 per year.”
Responsiveness was also crucial. Previously laminators waited for molds and carbon fiber kits. With SigmaNEST, these are planned and cut days in advance allowing work to begin immediately.
Results & Expansion
SigmaNEST paid for itself in 3 months. It is the driver for the company’s continuous improvement programs. The new process created additional business in aerospace, defense, telecommunications, and marine where flexibility, low weight, and strength of carbon fiber is important. Prodrive is implementing a 24 hour operation with SigmaNEST taking on an expanded role.