If you have been reading these blogs you may have read a post called 'Dilemma'. Generally discussing whether we should be taking this process as far as we have been or scaling back. One of the core reasons for that blog was to send to some of our key 'high level' suppliers and talk to them about cost arrangements to take away some of this financial 'pain' so we can seriously consider this as a direction.
The suppliers have agreed to compromises, and in typical form we have decided to continue with this superior system and direction.
Now, the next issue... With hi tech, high end raw materials, comes high tech / high end manufacturing equipment.
As of 3 or 4 days ago we suspended the production of the test pieces and development as we are wasting our time. To put it into perspective; if you buy a tube of 'liquid nails' and smear it on a piece of timber, this is fine as this is what it is designed to do. When you buy an aerospace / automotive high production resin you must:
Preheat Part A to 40degC
Preheat Part B to 70degC
Preheat a mould to 120degC
This mould must be enclosed and not open to the atmosphere - so a system called RTM (Resign Transfer Moulding) must be used which needs a specialty equipment.
To get heat up to 120degC or more for RTM, you need specialty heat pumps that can heat large areas (remember we are building houses, not F1 front wings!). Vacuums, 3 phase air compressors etc etc.
So this is where we are now at. Over the past 2-3 months we have developed ways never been done before to mass product carbon fibre parts to the same level as the automotive industry (the aerospace industry stands alone in terms of quality and precision). We have developed techniques, moulds and purchased ALL the equipment (some custom designed) required to make this all happen. In doing this, reducing the post fabrication, increasing bond areas and increasing production speed - the later helps to lower overall price.
We have also purchased some other new tech machines (sorry, dont want to disclose what at this stage) which will aide in production and quicker testing. Our R&D factory shortly will be quite impressive and only 1 step away from becoming automatic / robotic which will be the goal for early to mid 2020.
We are now so far away from that tube of 'Liquid Nails' its unbelievable.
Our blogs have slowed down considerably as we are not prepared at this stage to share the IP or our innovations as they are too new and valuable to us. We are extremely proud of where we have got to, and where we are heading.