ORNL Partners with Beckwood to create new Composite Processes

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has awarded Beckwood Press Company a contract to manufacture a custom hydraulic press for the compression moulding of various composite materials.

The research and development efforts made on the press will ultimately contribute to automotive and aerospace industry light-weighting efforts, intended to produce higher performance products with improved fuel efficiency. Scheduled for completion this September, the 100-ton custom press will feature a 36”x36” work area and integrated multiple zone heated platens for precision temperature control.

In addition to the custom hydraulic press, ORNL will install a Beckwood Fluid Cell sheet hydroforming system, which allows for the formation of complex geometries with the use of a pressurised diaphragm. The flexibility of the Triform process along with the ability to use inexpensive tooling (including 3D printed tooling), will enhance ORNL’s ability to conduct critical material and manufacturing-process research, per their project objectives.

The Beckwood machines will be used at ORNL by the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). Led by the University of Tennessee and headquartered in Knoxville, the IACMI’s main goal is to develop new low-cost, high-speed, and efficient manufacturing and recycling process technologies that will promote widespread use of advanced fibre-reinforced polymer composites.