Composite Manufacturing

Resin Infusion – VARTM

It has many names, VARTM, LRTM, sometimes just “infusion”. It’s all about pulling a vacuum; so that vacuum can pull in resin, like a water through a straw. That resin can come from a bucket and that’s fine for small runs, but high-volume production demands consistency and repeatability.  We go a step further and employ computer-controlled mix and injection systems, designed by us to eliminate the pitfalls and quirks of the composite manufacturing process.

At Spartec we specialize in Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) techniques. With over 40 years of experience with manufacturing and design, we can design a mold and process around your particular requirements. We are one of Canada’s highest volume producers of infused parts.

We have experience working with many different resin systems including polyester, vinyl ester and epoxy. We have also worked with glass, carbon, and aramid textiles for a wide variety of projects. We offer expert advice in making the most out of your infusion part and are able to cater materials and processes to your particular need. Our dedicated team can complete both small and large production runs and sustain high volume throughput at a competitive price.

Some of the parts we have infused recently include:

  • Boat hulls
  • Vehicle body panels
  • Defense parts
  • Special effects props & mannequins
  • Prototypes & development models
  • Industrial components
  • Waterslides & diving boards
  • Aerospace components

Hand Lay-up

Where the whole industry started, and where a lot of it still exists.  In simple form, a bucket and brush can be used to wet out fabrics. We don’t stop there. Like any manual craft the details matter: fiber placement, even saturation and removal of voids.  Where details matter, experience matters.   We still use this manual craft for simple, cost effective parts.

We have more than 40 years experience executing composite hand lay-up projects (HLU’s) of all shapes and sizes. Our main manufacturing facility in Erin has sufficient space to take on jobs big and small. Using advanced design and production control composite manufacturing technology, we can ensure repeatable, high-quality products using this process.

Over the years we have used HLU techniques to produce the follow parts:

  • Horse racing helmets
  • Hockey helmets
  • Retail store fixtures
  • Art sculptures
  • Molds
  • Boats
  • Truck parts
  • Defense parts

Pre-Preg

The peak of material precision, fabrics are pre-impregnated with specialized resins and frozen in a pre-cured state.  Packaged between films, prepreg allows detailed cutting and placement before a trip to the oven or autoclave completes the composite manufacturing process.  Like any sophisticated material, properties can be wasted without sophisticated process, so we use computerized ply orientation to maximize properties, computerized kit cutting to reduce waste, and computerized ovens to control cures.

At Spartec we lay up prepreg parts all day, every day for customers around the world. We have a dedicated clean shop solely used for the lay up and curing of prepreg parts.

Some of the parts we layup every day include:

  • Carbon Fiber Wings (Automotive)
  • Carbon Fiber Air Intakes (Automotive)
  • Carbon Fiber Door Components (Automotive)
  • Fiberglass Body Panels (Military)
  • Fiberglass Stowage Bins (Military)

Autoclave Curing

With prepreg to control both resin and fibers and a vacuum bag to remove air, it takes one last step to produce laminates of the highest quality. Our composite manufacturing equipment includes an oven inside a high-pressure vessel, autoclaves apply up to 20 times atmospheric pressure during the cure cycle.  This extreme environment provides the highest quality laminates, squeezing fiber bundles tightly and leaving exactly enough resin without voids. That’s still not enough, so our systems control and log the cure, so we can guarantee a perfect part every time and maintain an audit trail.

We currently run 2 autoclaves with the following specifications:

Unit 1

  • 100″ Long x 50″ Wide internal dimensions
  • Computerized monitoring and control
  • 200 Amps of heating capacity
  • 40 Tons of cooling capacity

Unit 2

  • 110″ Long x 54″ Wide internal dimensions
  • Computerized monitoring and control
  • 225 Amps of heating capacity
  • 40 Tons of cooling capacity

3D Printing

With ever increasing part sophistication, many designs are too intricate or would be too time consuming to craft by hand.  3D printing allows us to not only rapidly prototype new parts, but also enables full production runs for certain materials. 3D printing is essentially a laser printer for shapes, but we don’t stop there.  When parts are needed faster, or stronger, the printed part becomes a pattern for us to cast urethane parts.  Autoclaves give us an edge here too, the ability to pressure cure both molds and parts ensure the highest void free performance.

Just a few of the items we have 3D Printed:

  • Rail Lock-Out mechanisms (Production Run)
  • Signage components (Production Run)
  • Military Vehicle Components (Prototype)
  • Jigs for internal use (Drill, Bonding, etc)
  • Fixtures for Quality Checks

Urethane Casting

Not all composites use fabrics. Often plastic and rubber parts are needed, but the numbers simply don’t justify expensive injection molds.  Urethane resins offer a surprising array of properties. Rigid or elastomer, neat or filled, toughened or fire retardant, these sophisticated materials need sophisticated composite material manufacturers and processing.  With precise machine dispensing, controlled pressure casting, and the ability to overmold just about anything, it’s one more way we provide the final touches to your assemblies, all in house.

Composite Manufacturing Frequently Asked Questions

We have more than 40 years of experience in manufacturing and design. Let us know what you are looking for and we can help. We have previously infused boat hulls, vehicle body panels, defence parts and many more items in a variety of industries.

3D printing is a great option for projects that involve sophisticated and intricate design aspects. We offer 3D printing to aid in lowering the cost of products that would be time-consuming and costly if done by hand. We offer 3D printing for prototypes as well as for full production depending on the material.

We provide you with a full-service in-house solution for your project. From design and engineering to modelling, QA and fabrication. We will take your project from start to finish ensuring you achieve the quality you desire.