The Richard Mille watch
The Richard Mille watch
The watch chasis
The watch chasis
NTPT's automated tape laying system.
NTPT's automated tape laying system.

Founded in 2009, NTPT designs and manufactures ultra-thin prepregs for high performance composites applications. From its main facility in Switzerland, the company focuses on the research and development of prototypes and small series production.

The business offers spread tow and associated prepregging techniques to manufacture uni-directional prepreg tapes processed with thermoset resins, which can be extremely thin. To facilitate their handling, the company has also developed an automated tape laying system. NTPT’s technology package is completed with simulation software which enables efficient parts designs, taking advantage of the properties of ThinPregs®.

The watch cases are made from thick blocks of 400 thin ply of ThinPreg® carbon fibre uni-directional tape, pre-impregnated with an epoxy resin matrix system based on building blocks (resin, toughener and hardener) selected with Huntsman’s support. Because of the ultra-thin interply thickness, the autoclave cured block can be considered as a one phase material which is machinable (drillable, millable) in the same way as metal.

NTPT selected the Huntsman combination of building blocks for this particular application specifically for their ability to meet the necessary criteria required for manufacturing ultra-thin prepreg tapes, as well as their filament bearing properties and the resulting resistance to delamination and crack propagation, which provides the cured uni-directional tapes with good machinability behaviour.

Gilles Rocher, Sales & Marketing Manager, NTPT, said: “Both the reinforcement material and matrix system play an equally important role in achieving the right balance of desired properties. Matching process to performance was key to the success of this project. Thanks to the excellent product recommendations and ongoing technical support received from Huntsman, we have been able to achieve our goals in applying prepregs to deliver the highest level of quality within an extremely durable and lightweight watch case that is built to last.”