Tooling for carbon fibre components.
The choice of tooling material is vitally important when designing a composite manufacturing process. There are numerous physical, process and commercial considerations to balance. The 2 main types of tooling available are metallic and composite. Each bring their own pro’s and con’s which should be carefully considered for the production requirements of any carbon fibre product.
Metallic tooling is typically used for higher volume components due to its durability. However its high thermal mass can lead to longer processing times and high physical mass can present additional manual handling considerations.
Composite tooling can be matched to the specific component materials used, ensuring thermal expansion considerations are lessened. Tooling is lighter and therefore more easily handled, while heat up rates/temperature uniformity can be improved. Composite tooling however will typically need replacing throughout the life cycle of a component and is more easily damaged than metallic tooling.