A UK composite parts manufacturer has experienced a 50% growth over six months. Liz Nickels spoke to Rockwood Composites about what prompted the growth, and what the future brings.

Rockwood Composites, based in Newton Abbot, UK, is a manufacturer of composite components using both compression and bladder molding using pre-preg composite material in metal tooling.

Compression molding works by placing composite materials on a tool, which is then forced closed within a heated press to make parts that are solid or which have a lightweight foam core. Components with undercut and side features can all be molded using tooling with collapsing cores and side action tooling, according to the company.

In comparison, in bladder molding, an inflated pressure bag provides the consolidation pressure in the molding process, and the surface in contact with the bladder is not controlled by tooling. Rockwood reportedly also makes parts using both compression and bladder molding processes within the same component.

Major growth

In September 2019, the company announced that it had increased in its workforce by 50% in the previous six months. It also installed two new large presses that take tools with overall maximum dimensions up to 1500 × 1000 × 500 mm and operate up to 100 tonnes with 220 °C of multi zone heating.

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