HexTool® composite tooling material combines tolerance accuracy with extreme lightness. HexTool® is Hexcel’s new patented composite tooling material that, for the first time, enables the tolerance accuracy achieved with metals to be combined with the extreme lightness of carbon fiber composites. HexTool® molds are easy to repair and are simple to modify. This new concept for lightweight, efficient large-scale tools is cost-effective compared with conventional composite tools and metal molds, especially those made from Invar®.
|Process||Machining||Machining||Prepreg layup Autoclave||Fabric layup Vacuum infusion||HexTool® Layup Autoclave machining|
|Main Advantages||Cheap-Light Well known technology||Low CTE Well known technology||Light/Low temp cure/ Master Mold||No autoclave Light||Low CTE-Light Machinable, easy repair, design flexibility, Good dimension tolerances|
|Main drawbacks||High CTE-> no big tools Difficult repair||Weight/ Thermal inertia/Cost/ Difficult repair||Non- machinable/ Master Mold technology/ No repair||High tech process/Non machinable/ Master mold /No repair||New technology High temp cure|
Since the launch of HexTool®, several leading tooling engineers have used the material confirming the benefits of the technology. They have noted that dimensional stability is maintained, at tolerances very close to those achieved with metal tooling and that vacuum integrity is assured, even in heavily machined areas. Long tool life, ease of use, and the machinability of cured structures are some of the primary reasons HexTool® is being chosen for the tooling for parts on new generation aircraft worldwideHexTool® M61 Tooling Compound comprises randomly layered strips of uni-directional prepreg that have been consolidated into continuous rolled goods. It can be utilized for multi-ply quasi-isotropic hand lay-up and subsequently CNC milled to close tolerance.
HexTool® M61 has proved to be dimensionally stable with the ability to hold vacuum integrity before and after machining - and after more than 500 part cure cycles. Fabricated from Hexcel’s BMI resin, HexPly® M61, HexTool® M61 tools are ideally suited for curing carbon fiber/epoxy parts at 350°F/180°C. HexTool® tools are lighter and more energy efficient than those made from steel or Invar®. They are also cost-competitive - and provide a tighter mold tolerance - than standard composites.
Composite tooling material for components cured at 250°F to 300°F (120°C to 150°C)
HexTool® M81 Tooling Compound is randomly layered strips of uni-directional prepreg consolidated into continuous rolled goods. It can be utilized for multi-ply quasi-isotropic hand lay-up and subsequently CNC milled to close tolerance.
HexTool® M81 has proved to be dimensionally stable with the ability to hold vacuum integrity before and after machining. Fabricated from Hexcel’s epoxy resin HexPly® M81, HexTool® M81 is ideally suited for 250°F to 300°F (120°C to 150°C) curing carbon fiber tools and can also tolerate several cure cycles at 355°F (180°C). The resulting tools are lighter and more energy efficient than tools made from steel or aluminum. They are also cost-competitive and provide tighter mold tolerances than standard composite tooling.
HexTool® means that accurate and expensive master molds are no longer necessary. Hexcel has evaluated cost-effective master mold solutions.