This implies that 44% of companies need to enhance their knowledge of the manufacturing process if they want to improve their competitiveness.

The VISTAGY composites engineering benchmarking survey, How Does your Composite Design Process Compare to Industry Best Practices?, resulted in 140 responses across multiple industries, most prominently aerospace, automotive, and wind energy. 65% of the responses were from the USA, with 24% of the companies having an annual revenue of US$1 billion.

Goals for companies designing with composites varied, with 81% looking to reduce weight, 69% seeking to improve strength-to-weight ratios, 51% attempting to combine multiple parts, 25% seeking to extend product life, and 31% striving to lower maintenance costs.

“We conducted this study to enable our customers and others in the composites industry to understand where they stand compared to their peers and how they could improve their performance,” said Bruce Boes, vice president of product management and marketing for VISTAGY.

“One thing that really stood out was that companies with best-in-class performance had a high correlation to the maturity of their processes. These companies also made the decision to invest in design resources and were more interested in achieving part cost targets than actually lowering their part costs, a major breakthrough in designing to take full advantage of all of the benefits of composites technology.”

In this context, best-in-class companies:

  • average combining six or more parts into one (10% actually combine 10 or more parts, while 34% of companies lag others by treating composites as black metal and only replacing parts at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio);
  • reduce maintenance costs (and likewise improve quality and extend product lifecycles) by 30% or more by taking advantage of inherent material properties; and
  • reduce weight by 30% or more with a full 34% beating their weight reduction goals.

VISTAGY invites all composite design and manufacturing companies to participate in its extended survey and receive a complimentary copy of the report by going to:

VISTAGY Inc, headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, supplies the FiberSIM composites design software.