09 Sep 2023

Under a new arrangement, iCOMAT will sell and support a dedicated version of Vericut VCP/VCS software in support of its patented RTS process for defect-free steering of composite tapes.

CGTech (Irvine, Calif., U.S.), the developer of Vericut verification, simulation and optimization software, has announced a reseller agreement with Bristol-based iCOMAT (U.K.) known for its rapid tow sheering (RTS) technology, a defect-free tape-steering process for composite component production (read, “Tow steering, Part 3: The birth of tow shearing”). The special worldwide arrangement will see iCOMAT sell and support a dedicated version of Vericut VCP/VCS software in support of its patented manufacturing process for composites.
iCOMAT has registered notable growth since it began trading in 2019. Today, the company has almost 30 employees and a branch in Athens, Greece. The company also has plans to double its headcount in the coming 12 months, a move that will help spur ambitions for further international expansion. iCOMAT was a 2022 JEC Innovation Award finalist with partner Bristol University (U.K.) for the manufacture of a high-performance, space-grade fiber-steered cylinder, outperforming the conventional straight-fiber baseline in a structural test.
Providing the basis for this success is iCOMAT’s RTS process. Due to manufacturing limitations, conventional composite part design relies on straight fiber layers, leading to structures which use more material than necessary and are heavier and more expensive as a result. In contrast, iCOMAT’s innovative process enables defect-free steering of composite tapes. According to the company, placement of these tapes along complex load paths delivers highly optimized structures with dramatic weight savings and lower use of raw material in support of cost-effective and more sustainable composite parts.
iCOMAT’s industrial cells comprise a proprietary tape-laying head mounted as an end effector to a state-of-the-art six-axis industrial robot arm, all located inside a safety cell. As part of this solution, programming and virtual simulation will come via a special version of Vericut VCP (Vericut Composites Programming)/VCS (Vericut Composites Simulation) software complete with a new interface specifically for iCOMAT’s technology. iCOMAT will be the exclusive reseller of this software worldwide.
“Software is an integral part of our turnkey offer; customers must program and simulate their composite components to unlock optimized designs,” Dr. Dominic Bloom, business development manager at iCOMAT, says. “CGTech is a leader in this field, so we definitely picked the right partner and know we can make our worldwide reseller agreement a success.”
Among the sectors able to benefit is aerospace. iCOMAT’s solutions is said to deliver the strongest and lightest spars, fuselage panels and control surfaces, for instance. Examples include a 65% lighter lower wing skin compared with existing composite designs. The space industry, notably in launch vehicles and satellites, can also take advantage of central tubes and panels, for example, as weight has a major effect on launch costs.
In the automotive sector, iCOMAT offers high performance with light and optimized aero-performing structures for Formula 1 and other motorsport teams. For road cars, iCOMAT combines its near-net-shape preforms (that reduce waste to almost zero) with low-cost and low-embodied carbon materials, delivering cost-efficient and sustainable solutions.
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