Advanced Technologies for Discrete-Parts Manufacturing

Period of Performance: 11/08/2007 - 05/08/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Materials Innovation Technologies, LLC
320 Rutledge Road
Fletcher, NC 28732
Principal Investigator


Polymer matrix composites (PMCs) are a class of materials with great utility. Substitution of existing metallic parts by PMCs can result in weight reduction, part consolidation, elimination of corrosion, and improved performance. Materials Innovation Technologies LLC (MIT-LLC) is developing a method for making PMC fiber preforms that has the potential to revolutionize the industry. The Three Dimensional Engineered Preform (3-DEP) process, represents the state-of-the art in chopped fiber preform manufacture. 3-DEP produces a homogeneous fiber distribution within parts and consistent part weight and dimensions from part-to-part. We propose to identify classes of discrete components that will lend themselves to manufacture by the 3-DEP process and that will benefit from the following features: Reduced raw material costs Reduced scrap because of 3-DEP's net-shape forming capability Reduced total costs because of greatly reduced cycle times Reduced labor because of automation Improved quality Greatly enhanced ability to customize component properties such as combining lightweight materials (carbon fiber) with superior ballistic characteristics (aramid fibers). 3-DEP brings to materials forming an exciting, innovative, never-before-seen process that will radically change the way advanced material composites are formed. It will allow DLA to exceed its goals of reducing manufacturing costs while improving characteristics of components.