Nordam implemented the Hexcel HexMC-based parts in the window frames and other small parts like brackets, fittings and gussets that are typically made from aluminum. “The main difference between Forged Composite and the Boeing structural window frames is the materials used to manufacture. The parts developed by Forged Composite were short fibers combined with a resin film as opposed to the Boeing carbon fiber/epoxy tape that was chopped and assembled into a sheet,” says Feraboli.
The change resulted in higher damage tolerant parts that are cheaper to construct than other carbon fiber methods and lighter than the usual aluminum parts. According to Boeing, the window frames are approximately 50 percent lighter than the aluminum counterpart. Nordam continues to manufacture thousands of structural window frames for the 787 and expects to yield more than $200 million over the next 15 years.
Project #2: Callaway’s RAZR Hawk
In 2007, the ACSL joined with the Callaway Golf Company, Carlsbad, Calif., in a collaborative effort to improve Callaway drivers with similar short fiber technology used during the Boeing structural window frames project. “We colloquially refer to the material as carbon fiber hardwood because it looks similar to cherry or walnut trees after manufacturing,” says Feraboli. Callaway wanted to collaborate to improve its bladder molded laminated construction on the Diablo Octane driver. “The laminated composites were limited in shaping and thickness variation and we were looking for a material that had more capability when it came to shaping,” says Steve Ehlers, vice president of golf club innovation at Callaway Golf. Callaway uses Forged Composite to produce carbon fiber driver heads that meet the requirements for bending strength in the body and maintain low weight properties.
The RAZR Hawk driver, which was designed using the new technology, also takes advantage of the material’s shaping properties in the head, shaping an intricate pattern that improves the aerodynamics of the club and includes shapes molded inside. This year’s new adjustable driver, the RAZR Fit, which will be released at the end of January, uses Forged Composite in the head of an adaptable club that can change loft, face angle and weight distribution. Previously, implementing composites in this location would skew the driver’s center of gravity. “After further research with the material, we determined how to use the weight savings and make an adjustable driver without sacrificing performance,” says Ehlers.
In recognition of its ingenuity, Callaway Golf was awarded the Award for Composites Excellence (ACE), Most Creative Application Award at the American Composites Manufacturers Association’s COMPOSITES Show in 2011 for the use of Forged Composite in its RAZR Hawk driver. “We simply couldn’t have completed that design with a laminated composite. Forged Composite proved to be a useful technology in our application.”