Materials and Technology: Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber is more expensive than other durable materials. This is changing. The cost of industrial-grade carbon fiber used be as high as $15 per pound, but it is now as low as $7 per pound. How is that possible? The cost factors of carbon fiber are improving. This has led to a decrease in the cost of raw material, production and technology. What other factors influence the cost of carbon fiber? Then keep reading. 1. Raw Materials Carbon Fiber is also known as composite material. Composite materials are made up of multiple products. The cost of each product determines the final price of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber can be made from a combination of several materials such as:
Polyacrylonitrile Rayon Pitch
The manufacturing industry is working hard to find new ways and raw materials that will lower carbon fiber prices. Researchers are working to develop more reactive resins that can be used to reduce the time required to make carbon fiber. 2. Energy is another cost factor in carbon fiber production. After creating resin fibers using PAN and other precursors they heat treat the fibers with chemicals, heat and stretching. Fibers are then carbonized and reinforced with carbon atoms. Each fiber needs to be reinforced with carbon atoms. This takes a lot energy. It also takes energy to combine the carbon into threads and fibers. Carbon fiber manufacturing is expensive because of the high energy costs. 3. Production The production of carbon fiber includes labor and machinery. Carbon fiber production is a complex process. It is not possible to become a carbon fiber producer by working with just anyone. Carbon fiber production requires sophisticated machinery. These machines can run into the thousands, which drives up the cost of the final product. The good news? Like most manufacturing industries, carbon fibre producers are looking for new ways to automate production. It’s easy to see why the cost of carbon fiber is falling. There are fewer skilled workers and more advanced technology that doesn’t need replacing as often. 4. Software and Technology. Assembling machines and software are not the only factors that impact technology costs. There is new composite manufacturing software on the market. Take this example:
Software to design simulation to reduce the design time. Software to cost-model to analyze lost efficiency. Software to use knowledged-based engineering products for lower labor costs
Software providers also offer products that help to identify manufacturing risks early. This will help reduce the risk of costly errors and increase carbon fiber manufacturing cost. Carbon Fiber Manufacturing Costs are dropping Raw materials, energy, production software, and technology are all important factors in manufacturing. Despite recent technological advances, however, carbon fiber production costs are on the decline. Are you looking for a manufacturer of carbon fiber composites? You have come to the right spot. SMI Composites can help you lower carbon fiber costs. Get in touch today.
It’s a man-made product that has 5-10 micrometers of fibers, or about one-tenth as thick as human hair. These fibers are then bundled together in a row and used to make carbon fiber cloth. Then it is formed and resin is added to harden the carbon fiber material.
It takes a lot of time and effort to create the fibers. It is much simpler to take raw ore, and make it into steel. It also has the advantage of having very high strength-to-weight ratios and other benefits.
It is becoming less expensive every year. It will continue to fall as manufacturing techniques improve. Good forming is a little more complicated. Bike frames, for example, are more expensive per unit of carbon fiber than something made with flat carbon fiber. This is because, while the fabric can be made automatically, it isn’t possible to automate the process of putting the fabric into the molds and applying the resins.
A flat frame made from a ‘quadcopter’ material or with less complicated curvatures than a bicycle frame will be much more affordable than a bike-frame due to the carbon fiber material it contains.