With the increased need and use for composite products, there are many emerging material suppliers and manufacturers entering the marketplace. Before selecting a composite material supplier, there are several things to consider.
How much experience a supplier has in the industry is an important factor to consider. Generally, this means experienced engineers, knowledgeable personnel, advanced material development, precision machining, and proven processes. Working with composites is a science that takes time to understand. Having the ability to make the material, does not mean one understands how to engineer for performance. Long standing companies will possess the expertise to promote successful partnerships. In addition, the longevity of the company indicates a stable foundation in which to build these possible business opportunities.
There are many types of composite material and manufacturing processes in the industry. It is important to find suppliers that can customize to meet the design requirements of the component or assembly. Make sure they can provide materials and manufacturing processes to fit the part and not try to make the part fit the material and processing. Early design review and involvement are critical for success.
Since designing with composites and composites manufacturing are not core competencies of many companies, composite suppliers should offer significant technical support. As the composites experts, they should provide engineered solutions from concept to completion. Processes should be in place to successfully guide customers in the design to use their materials and manufacturing processes.
Choosing a composites supplier can be a bit difficult, particularly when there are so many available. Remembering the information above, and asking all the right questions will help you form strong partnerships with a composite material company.