At Beetle we draw upon our pioneering spirit and our rich history in composites to help pave the way to new technological advancements, products, services and customer requirements. As a leading manufacture of custom FRP products- from cooling towers to ventilations systems, from tanks and containment structures, to walkways, decking, and platforms-we are one of the most fully integrated composite solutions providers in the industry.
It’s not just our advanced capabilities that set us apart from our competitors. We have expertise in engineering and manufacturing, combined with research and development that has resulted in premier FPR products. Our composites are profiled and precise-designed to fit your requirements and excel your projects. Your company will be more productive when you leverage our talents and technology.
The earliest of man-made composites, made of mud and straw, date back some 6000 years in Egypt. Plywood was developed by ancient Mesopotamians, 3400BC, gluing wood at different angles for improved strength and durability.
Fast-forward through time; beyond the discovery of using papyrus and linens in the construction of plasters, and beyond the writings of Vitruvius 25 BC, describing how to manufacture concrete. Eventually, when you transcend various other composite innovations, advancements, and technologies you’ll come to discover Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP).
FRP are among the newest composites, dating back to around the dawn of the 20th century. FRP are the most advanced line of engineered composites the world has ever seen. The process came into its own in the late 1970s, surpassing steel and other metals as the preferred choice in thousands of applications. Furthermore, because composite molds can be designed in any shape or size, FRP products are only limited by the imagination of the design team.
This technology has led to increased durability and strength in hostile and corrosive environments such as chemical processing plants, pulp and paper, mining and minerals, food processing, waste water treatment and sewage centers, HVAC, semiconductor plants, power generator facilities, fuel storage tanks, and more.
Thermoset and Thermoplastic Materials
When making a decision on material choice for a project, it’s important to understand the technology. When making a choice regarding composites, it’s also important to grasp why polymers react the way they do. For starters, what is a polymer? A polymer is a chemical compound or mixture of compounds consisting of repeating structural units or chains.
When we discuss materials we can classify them in many different ways; organic and synthetic, corrosion resistant, abrasion resistant, heat resistant, etc. To better understand composites, let’s discuss the materials in the context of how they respond to heat. Some polymers undergo permanent chemical reaction when exposed to heat and others only temporary physical change. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Thermoset materials are those that cure (vulcanize) or “set” into a given shape generally through the application of thermal increase. The addition of a second material (catalyst) and/or heat or some other activating influence will initiate the chemical reaction.
Curing, changes the material forever. Curing is an irreversible chemical reaction in which permanent connections (known as cross-links) are made between the material’s molecular chains.
These cross-links give the cured polymer a three-dimensional structure, as well as a higher degree of rigidity than it possessed prior to curing. Thermoset polymers will not melt and will not regain the processibility they had before curing.
Thermoset Polymers Outperform Other Materials in a Number of Areas
- Mechanical Properties
- Chemical Resistance
- Thermal Stability
Thermoplastic materials do not cure. When thermoplastics undergo a thermal increase they become pliable and plastic. Once the material is pliable it is ready to work or mold. At high temperatures the thermoplastic becomes more fluid and it can be pressure injected from a heated cavity into a mold.
As it cools, the thermoplastic will harden in the shape of the mold, but there is no chemical curing at work. No cross-links are formed as with a thermoset material. The changes seen in the thermoplastic polymer are purely physical.
The process is reversible when sufficient heat is reapplied to the thermoplastic. A thermoplastic material can therefore be reprocessed many times, though continual recycling will eventually degrade the polymer.
Innovations That Work
There is high demand in today’s global economy for composite products that can perform in unique and often stringent environments. For example, FRP are desired throughout the world for their ability to withstand highly corrosive and abrasive environments, prolonged exposure to heat, high strength requirements- or any other circumstance where conventional construction materials have failed or fallen short. Technological advances in the past 50 years have made FRP a superior material choice for nearly a limitless amount of applications.
FRP are currently filling a niche for high quality, customizable, cost-effective products. They have successfully done so because they have proven to be a worthy alternative to other traditional materials such as concrete, metal, and wood. This can be said throughout many markets especially in industrial settings, but especially in aerospace, marine, and construction.
Capabilities, Capacity, Solutions
At Beetle our strengths are interconnected to our capabilities, capacity, and ability to design, manufacture, and deliver. Our diverse, expert capabilities are a testament to our ability to understand industry trends, as well as our innovative spirit, creativity, and passion for composite excellence.
Our technological advancements are made possible by our rich history and experience in fiberglass as well as our research and development. When you have us on your side, our composite technology, precision manufacturing, and industry know-how become your competitive advantage. We understand how to leverage our technological strengths properly to create enhanced custom products for construction, reconstruction, and upgrade projects.
- CNC Manufacturing
- Filament Winding
- Open Molding
- Molding and Tooling
- Vacuum Infusion
- Design/Engineering Services
- Field Services