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Advanced Tooling Systems

Smart CaulTM

Smart Cauls are made in the net shape of the end product, less the debulked composite thickness. They are rigid during lay-up, allowing a customer to place composite material directly on the Smart Caul. During composite part cure and above its transition temperature, the Smart Caul becomes elastomeric, ensuring pressure is applied evenly across surface geometries. Customers can increase through-put by using a second Smart Caul for composite lay-up that can be applied to the cure mold as soon as the previous part has been cured.

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Smart Caul Process

Form

Lay-Up

After applying a release agent, composite material is applied to the rigid Smart Caul (or the cure tool). Debulk can be done as necessary.

Cure

The laid-up caul is placed on the cure tool and bagged for vacuum pressure. During the part cure cycle and above the activation temperature of the Smart Caul, it becomes elastic and applies equal pressure to the composite part geometry.

Extract

After the part is cured and pressure is released, the Caul can be extracted from the cured composite part. Smart Cauls can be made in varying thicknesses to accommodate a need to flex out of trapped geometries.

Repeat

If there is a need to reset the geometry, the extracted caul can be reformed, cooled, and begin the next fabrication cycle. It may not be necessary to reform a Smart Caul if composite material is placed directly on the cure tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smart Caul Properties

  • Fabricated to the net IML or OML of the composite part

  • Rigid at room temperature for lay-up directly onto Smart Caul

  • Rigid during assembly with bond mold for tolerance and repeatable alignment

  • Highly elastomeric during cure to consolidate laminate and accommodate lay-up variances

  • Delivered in a net molded shape, ready to use by the customer

  • Ideal for complex geometries

Smart Caul Advantages

        • Smart Caul Example1 Resized

          Increased part consolidation and uniformity.

        • Material is an epoxy thermoset resin, eliminating silicone contamination issues.

        • Can use existing tooling to create Smart Cauls.

        • Smart Caul is formed to ply schedule plus bulk factor and moves with the layup during cure to final shape. This prevents resin rich or resin starved areas typically found when using a metal caul plate.

        • Smart Caul does not shrink overtime providing increased life cycles over alternative flexible caul solutions, such as AirPad.

        • Multiple resin options to meet your cure temperature requirements. See chart below.

Conventional Corner Bridging

Lay-ups on male Smart Cauls, formed to the IML, eliminate conventional corner bridging issues. During the cure cycle Smart Caul becomes elastic and applies even pressure on the entire part, including the corners.

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Smart Caul Material Selection Chart

Smart Caul Material
Reforming Temperature (°F)
Operational Temperature (°F) up to
E1-62
250
350 ±5%
N2
250
350 ±5%
J4
200
350 ±5%
QT
300
350 ±5%

 

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