200 hundred years ago the industrial revolution had transformed cloth production but it still took ~15 hours to hand stitch a dress shirt. Over the course of the next 100 years, increasingly sophisticated versions of the sewing machine ushered in a sea change in quality and repeatability as the likes of Singer & Co reduced this to ~1.5 hours.
Today as we sit on the cusp of the mass uptake of carbon fibre in the automotive sector it is worth noting that while we have abundant ‘cloth’ we are still searching for the ultimate way to convert this into shapes for everyday use.
Fiber placement, automated tape lay-up, transfer systems and even 3D printing all offer nascent ways to automate the production of continuous reinforced material yet feel relatively immature with potentially years of additional software, hardware and materials development required despite being used to make aircraft today.
No-one expects building composite graded structures to be easy but it is a healthy reminder of how much we take yesterdays innovators for granted.Back to Blog