TRB Lightweight Structures has begun manufacturing its own prepreg material to improve performance, cost and lead times for its composite parts. The company has already produced and shipped 25,000 parts using this proprietary, rapid-cure prepreg technology.
In late 2020, TRB announced a new production process to generate continuous fibre, thermoset composite parts at high volume for automotive markets. To deliver on that promise, the company built its own prepreg machines, and is developing a family of resins to support component manufacturing, including resins optimised for rapid cure, FST (UL94-V0) and high temperature applications. TRB has emphasized that it is not selling its prepreg commercially, but is instead focused on streamlining its production process for the components it manufactures. This allows the company to decrease costs and lead times – by reducing the number of vendors involved and eliminating minimum order quantities – while also improving manufacturing efficiency.
“By making our own prepreg, we are able to tune the material selection to precisely match what is needed for each customer,” said Andrew Dugmore, VP of Business Development at TRB. “We can create an optimal mix of fabric weight, coloured surface finish and resin properties, as well as incorporating additional materials – such as EMI shielding, and electrical and thermal insulation – during the lay-up process.”