Built on a long history of composite manufacturing achievements, we provide customers with bespoke processing and material options to achieve cost effective solutions to technically demanding problems. Supplying aerospace, defence and nuclear industries for 25 years with a proven track record of delivering complex structures.
Specialising in compression and bladder moulding of pre-preg composite material in metal tooling, we have taken component manufacture to the next level. The processes allow an extraordinary variety of parts to be made with levels of complexity that other method would find hard to match.
Our approach starts with a fundamental review of customer requirements, followed by design for manufacture to allow for process optimisation. Should any processing solutions be inappropriate, we will advise accordingly and happily suggest alternative options.
The diversity of experience by the range of industries we serve gives us a unique insight into customer requirements and composite design and manufacturing option.
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Design for manufacture
We design our own tooling, to incorporate process optimisation from the start. This leads to good quality components with high FIBRE VOLUME fraction and low voids. We incorporate CNC machining features where ever possibly to eliminate hand work and trimming. Good quality tooling leads to good quality parts.
Tooling can be designed to be configurable, that is to say that a single tool can have interchangeable inserts to enable a variety of similar parts to be manufactured from a single tool.
Stand-alone tooling is built specifically to customer requirements and can incorporate integral heating and cooling systems, bladder and compression moulding in the same tool, multi-zone heating, fully automatic cure control. These tools are not moved in and out of heated presses, they are as fully autonomous and allow fast component turn-around
Composite materials selection
We use pre-preg material sourced from a range of UK based pre-preg suppliers. The specific material selected or specified will be tailored to meet the numerous component requirements. All materials are supplied with full traceability and analysis records.
Material is cut using either our 3 metre CNC ply cutter or clicker press for consistency and accuracy. Material traceability follows cut material through the manufacturing system.
Compression and Bladder Moulding
Compression moulding is a process where composite materials are placed on a tool, which is then forced closed within a heated press. The parts can be monolithic i.e solid, or have a light weight foam core. Components with undercut and side features can all be moulded using tooling with collapsing cores and side action tooling. The results are parts that have a moulded face on all surfaces.
Bladder moulding is a technique where an inflated pressure bag provides the consolidation pressure in the moulding process. The surface on which the bladder contacts is not controlled by tooling.
Hybrid tooling: We also manufacture parts that have both compression and bladder moulding processes in the same parts. This combines the precision and surface complexity available with compression moulding with the ability to have less complicated tooling for other features.
Both systems employ hard tooling usually made from aluminium. Both processes provide quick moulding turn-around time with exceptional quality.
Testing and validating components
We perform mechanical and fatigue testing to verify design specifications.
Prototypes and development
We work closely with customers and strive to over deliver on product quality and cost effectiveness, providing continual process improvement for cost and performance optimisation.
We have a strong in house machining capability, utilising 3rd and 4th axis CNC equipment.
Our CNC machining capacity include vertical mills up to 760 x 400mm and Turret mills to 1200 x 400mm turning 1200 lg. by Ø300mm. All supported with CAD-CAM programming and well equipped inspection
They are operated by experienced engineers which we further supplement with a selection of trusted external machinists.
This gives us the capabilities of both manufacturing quality tooling in a timely manner and keeping the construction of complex structures firmly in house.
Aesthetics and completed components.
We are no stranger to delivering finished components ready for immediate assembly into high value structures.
Our Laser engraver can add a more personalise feel your product to give it a unique finish.
From external finishes to being clad in precious metals, we can deliver exceptional looking parts for the most discerning of customers.
Anything is possible and nothing is out of the question.
We have two large presses with platens that take tools with overall maximum dimension up to 1500 x 1000 x 500mm, and operate up to 100 tonnes with 220°C of multi zone heating.
Our four smaller presses have the same temperature capacity but support tools up to 500 x 500 x 500mm and 75 tonnes. All presses use temperature profile control and are built specifically for our operational needs. Automatic production temperature and pressure profile mapping of cure schedules available as required.
Presses are built with sufficient power maximise material cure ramp rates. A centralised 15Kw cooling is used to bring tools back to room temperature in the shortest practical times. Tools are designed to aid rapid disassembly, cleaning and lay-up in our “design for manufacture” moto.
Rockwood Composites works to the latest ISO 9001:2015 certified standards
We have a great deal of experience in dealing with large multinational firms and are very accustomed to working to the most stringent timelines. We facilitate comprehensive traceability and accountability systems that are necessitated when delivering the high value critical components that we pride ourselves in.
We work closely with our customers to arrange a production plan to deliver components in line with their schedules and specifications.
What differentiates Rockwood Composites?
Our broad based in-house design and engineering capability to provide innovative products and product manufacturing solutions.
Manufacturing processes and expertise that are not frequently found in the UK composites industry.
Short lead times from concept to hardware, through in-house design, tool manufacture and development.
Rapid problem solving and customer support backed by ISO 9001:2015 manufacturing systems.
We have a proven track record of producing high quality products and the ability to deliver components on time.
We are happy to discuss and support design engineers in the selection of appropriate component materials, tooling and production systems.
"Design for Manufacture" is key in minimising tooling cost, maximising quality and reducing component cost and lead time. Please call to discuss.