Process materials used in molding composites such as breather fabrics, release films, bagging films, peel plies, etc. are most commonly manufactured and supplied in roll form. These rolls usually measure up to 60” to 120” in width and upwards of 300 yds in length. For application, these materials are usually cut by hand into the lengths, widths and shapes needed for the layup process.
For customers wishing to save labor expense and warehousing space, Northern can develop kits of materials precut and assembled for specific assembly manufacturing projects.
Composite mechanics repetitively cutting process materials with scissors and utility knives is a labor intensive process. Costs are often underestimated. Also, manual cutting creates far more waste than what would is typical of the kitting process.
Machine cutting is typically done using computer controlled slitters. Shaping is performed by CNC cutter apparatus with a nesting program which better utilizes all the available material and minimizes waste. These cutting machines can process several layers of material at the same time with much higher precision than by hand.
The value of purchasing pre-kitted composite materials becomes evident as both production demands and labor costs rise. By having process materials kitted, inventory, storage space and waste are reduced. Kits can be used immediately upon receipt. In most cases, production rates increase while off quality and labor hours/part decrease. M. Alper Corakci’s Thesis titled “An Evaluation of Kitting Systems in Lean Production” found that proper kitting had a beneficial effect on the five major tracks in the observed process ( space, quality, materials handling, flexibility and learning ).
” Kitting as a method of materials supply to the assembly line is generally observed as a good solution for the industry whenever there are problems about space, quality, materials handling, flexibility and learning due to high number of variants.” ….”Kitting was observed to show numerous benefits in all of five tracks if applied properly “(Corakci, “An Evaluation of Kitting Systems in Lean Production”)
Northern Composites’ extensive product lines and inventories allow us to offer solutions for small and large, simple or complex manufacturing challenges. Northern has the technical expertise to support our customers in the material selection and packaging process.
Call us with your challenges, we will show you solutions!