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Understanding The Complexities of Composites

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Composites are great! 

 They are lighter and stronger than other materials.
They can be used in applications which help make the world a better place.
They can be shaped and molded into all sizes. 

Thank heaven for the chemists and engineers at the various material manufacturers! People at companies like Hexcel, Toray, and Park, work endlessly to create the innumerable combinations of resins and fibers from which to make product. 

But many times, composites can be a pain to deal with. How can you manage all the variables of such a flexible material?

Here’s where the challenges (and questions) begin: 

  1. How much do you have to order for them to create a batch?
  2. When does the material expire? 
  3. Where am I going to store it while I wait to use it? 
  4. How do I track the amount of time that the material is not in a frozen state? 
  5. When does the time tracking start and stop? 
  6. If I mix rolls in a product, or worse yet, batches of rolls in a product, how do I provide the   information needed to show that I know what the makeup of the parts are? 

And I haven’t even touched on when the material manufacturers give me their product in 12” wide rolls and I only need ½” wide rolls!

What a mess. In reality, the volumes are large and the documentation needed to provide traceability is much more involved. Composites are tricky, but you have to know what you’re working with. And, you’ll probably need a little help managing the inventory. Either way, these questions are pretty common. But once you’ve worked out all the kinks you’ll be on your way to successful production.

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