DEC 2018


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7 Lessons learned Material suppliers and creative design teams have shown that comolded hybrid material parts are the future. ere is a 30-year history of product development and renement of engineering techniques that have countered earlier challenges. But from my experience, the breakthrough needed to move forward will not be the engineering, it will be in the management of the innovation process by material suppliers and OEMs. For example, one challenge is that SMC producers are good at making a wide range of very similar products. Making a "struc- tural product" is diƒerent than making a good, consistent SMC. Small amounts of variation in proven or new products can turn into problems when the upper ends of mechanical properties are pushed. is puts a premium on process control and material char- acterization to create condence in a material for the design team. Experience has also shown me that little things kill projects. Too many secondary operations can add signicant cost. e inability to control a small occasional warp in a key t area or the need to prime paint can derail a project with great design breakthrough. Overall, the question I would ask any team in the process of innovating with SMC is this: Did you nd moving forward was a great and rewarding experience, or have you gone back to what you know and you do well? From my experience, the challenges of pushing the limits can create a mental cloud that can be tough to Innovation in SMC REFERENCES 1 2 discontinuous_carbon_fiberepoxy_systems 3 4 suspens-ICE.pdf and Steve Brown has worked as a manufacturer's representative for Premix and Quantum Composites, selling composite materials and molded parts to aerospace and automotive OEMs since 1986. For much of that time, he has developed applications for high- performance SMC, and he continues to develop new and unique solutions where conventional composites struggle. overcome. However, as these parts have illustrated, moving fast with conviction to make a better product can result in success. Editor's note: Premix and Quantum Composites were acquired in ''"" and combined with Hadlock Plastics (Geneva, OH, US) to form e Composites Group (Kingsville, OH, US), but operate as individual suppliers. e Composites Group was acquired by Citadel Plastics (Chicago, IL, US) which was acquired by A. Schulman (Fairlawn, OH, US). LyondellBasell (Rotterdam, e Netherlands) acquired A. Schulman in August ''"ž.

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