There are unique properties of Fiberglass, Composites, and Carbon Fiber that make them suitable and desirable for a wide range of product applications. These properties offer huge advantages over other types of construction materials. The advantages of Fiberglass, composites and Carbon Fiber can be generally summarized in the following categories:
* Versatility and Freedom Of Design
* Affordability and Cost Effectiveness
* Strength & Durability
* Special Physical Properties
Let us examine these properties in more detail.
Versatility and Freedom Of Design
Fiberglass and composites such as carbon fiber can be tooled, molded, and fabricated into almost any shape or design. There are few restrictions on color, finish, shape, or size. This offers many opportunities to architects and designers to allow their creativity to flow. If you can imagine it, we can most likely fabricate it out of fiberglass, composites, or carbon fiber. The finished product will be lighter, stronger, lower maintenance and, in most cases, less costly than manufacturing the same product out of alternate materials.
Affordability and Cost Effectiveness
Fiberglass and composites are very affordable and cost effective solutions for almost any application, component, or part. The costs of engineering and prototyping are relatively low compared with other manufacturing techniques and mediums. Once plugs and molds have been created, parts can be easily duplicated in quantity at extremely cost effective price points. Production up scaling can be cost effectively accomplished by replicating molds and plugs and increasing the number of fabricators; no need to "ramp up" production by investing in expensive machinery and tooling plants in order to increase quantities or speed.
Additionally, the non-corrosiveness and durability of fiberglass results in lower costs for maintenance and warranty work. Finally, the end product being lighter and stronger than alternative materials results in additional savings in shipping and storage costs.
Strength and Durability
Fiberglass is an attractive, lightweight, and durable material. Other composites such as carbon fiber can be even lighter and stronger. Fiberglass and composites have one of the highest strength to weight ratio available for component fabrication. Pound-for-pound, fiberglass is stronger than sheet metal or steel. Manufacturing parts from fiberglass builds strength directly into a finished product, much more so than using standard injection molded or non-reinforced plastics or materials.
Fiberglass is also highly resistant to environmental extremes. Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) does not rust and is highly resistant to corrosion. In fact, the non-corrosive properties of fiberglass give it a much longer life expectancy than metal, wood, and non-reinforced plastics when used in highly corrosive application environments. When exposed to extreme temperatures, salty or humid air, sun (ultraviolet light), or acidic chemicals, fiberglass, composites, and carbon fiber will last longer and perform better than most available alternatives.
This is not your fatherís fiberglass. Today, fiberglass and composites can be gel coated right in the mold with a wide variety of colors and textures to achieve just about any desired look and feel. Fiberglass and composite parts can be finished in flat, semi-gloss, or high gloss. Although fiberglass components can still be painted, the available options for colors and textures virtually eliminates the need for after-production painting.
The sleek, molded look of fiberglass components gives products an extremely finished and ìhigh techî appearance. This can be especially true with specialized composites such as carbon fiber. Using fiberglass for your productís covers and enclosures definitely improves itís esthetics when compared to the rigid, boxy look of alternatives such as sheet metal or the ìcheap and flimsyî look of non-reinforced molded plastics.
Special Properties of Fiberglass
Fiberglass is dielectric. This means that it is non-conductive and RF transparent. This makes fiberglass ideal for applications where metal housings can affect electronic performance of a product or where electrically conductive metal housings can pose a safety hazard to employees or components.
Fiberglass is chemically inert. This means that it will not react chemically with other substances with which it may come into contact. This can prevent potentially hazardous and explosive situations that arise with other metallic or petroleum based materials.
Fiberglass also has superior and more desirable acoustic qualities than plastic or metal. Under similar conditions fiberglass and composites tend to vibrate less and remain quieter than sheet metals. This can reduce the overall operating volume of your machinery and even help you achieve acceptable or required sound levels for your equipment. For even more sound deadening capability, fiberglass and composites can layered with matte material in order to achieve the desired level of acoustic deadening.
Fiberglass and composites are structurally stable. Fiberglass and composites exhibit the least amount of expansion and contraction with heat and stress compared to plastic, metal, or wood. This means that your products will hold their shape better under severe mechanical and environmental stresses.