Plastics and the types of products made using composite machining in general play a pivotal role in our daily lives – even if you don’t necessarily realize that. In fact, elements like carbon fiber reinforced plastic and resin impregnated fiberglass are so essential that the world would look quite different if they were not around.
Tomorrow’s Energy, Today
In terms of energy, it’s hard to find an application more exciting than solar power. According to The Solar Foundation, employment in the solar energy sector in the United States has increased by 20% in just the last few years. Adoption for both businesses and private citizens has increased dramatically since 2008, thanks largely to the fact that the costs of solar panels declined by 80% between 2009 and 2013 alone.
Much of the gains seen in this area are thanks to composite machining. The use of glass fiber and thermoset resin composites has made it possible to create solar panels and other equipment that produce 400% more energy, all while being dramatically less expensive in terms of purchase price and installation costs. The reduced weight that these composites offer also help to make solar equipment suitable for more environments than ever before.
The Space Program Takes to the Skies
NASA is just one example of an organization that uses composite machining on a regular basis, particularly in research and development and prototyping. Every challenge that NASA engineers set out to solve is essentially one with no solution – they’re breaking new ground every time they design a craft for a specific task or unique environment.
When lives are on the line, only composite machining can guarantee the flexibility, the durability and conformance with tight tolerances that NASA needs in terms of characteristics like thermal resistance, weight and strength requirements and more.
Computers Would Be Significantly Less Impressive
For years, computers and other electronic devices have been regularly getting smaller, faster and more powerful – all contradictory goals happening at the same time. Every time Apple releases a new MacBook that is remarkably thinner (yet more robust) than the one that came before it, you have electronics machining and composite materials to thank. Advancements in composite machining as they relate to microchip design have allowed for the type of fast, continuous innovation necessary for an entire industry to thrive.
Unique Military Applications
Speaking of electronics machining, there are perhaps no applications more important in terms of composites than the way they’re being used by the hardworking men and women of the military on a daily basis. Take the Apache helicopter, for example. The Boeing AH-64 Apache Helicopter is as reliable as they come – it’s been in production since the 1980s.
Without G10 FR4 (Mil-I-24768/27), a laminated epoxy resin, the two separate sets of flight instrumentation within the craft absolutely would not be able to function. Other materials may have acted as a “quick fix” throughout history, but only G10 FR4 offers the stability, the high-impact strength, the lighter weight and the corrosion resistance necessary to allow our members of the Armed Services to protect our country from threats both foreign and domestic.
These are just a few examples of the types of things that wouldn’t exist without plastics and composite machining to serve as a foundation. JMJ Profile, Inc. regularly works with organizations like Bombardier and NASA to provide the types of custom solutions people need to continue to change our lives, both for the better and for all time.
Also see: Mil-I-24768/27