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Web Industries prepares for significant growth in aerospace formatting

Web Industries, Inc., industry leader in formatting prepreg composites for aerostructure fabrication, is pleased to announce recent infrastructure additions and storage expansion at its plant outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The largest and most advanced composites formatting facility in the world, Web Atlanta produces precision composite slit tape and ply kits and provides vendor managed inventory services to the aerospace industry's leading manufacturers and part fabricators.

These additions are the first part of a $12 million, three-year infrastructure investment plan that will increase efficiency and capacity at Web Atlanta and will position the facility to service a projected five-fold growth in aerospace composite formatting business over the next decade.

As the aerospace industry searches for best-practice solutions to ramping up production rates, companies are discovering the advantages of outsourcing necessary but non-value add secondary manufacturing operations like optimized composite formatting for downstream manufacturing as well as vendor managed inventory services like raw material ordering and management, inventory tracking, freezer storage, quality assurance, and just-in-time fulfillment. Contracting out these solutions allows companies to focus on improving and innovating their core competencies, simplifies their raw material costs, and lowers risk within their supply chain.

To meet growing demand for Web's PrecisionSlitTM composite slit tape, the company has developed new processes that enable the production of longer slit tape spools with improved slit tape edges and an increased usable life span, all of which offer aerospace companies better manufacturing production rates. Taking place in a set of linked climate-controlled rooms, these new processes quickly thaw frozen raw composite material parent rolls, prep them for formatting in an ISO 8 clean room environment, and then hold the prepped material in a temperature-controlled “suspended animation” until slitting can occur.

To support the rapidly-growing base of aerospace fabricators based in the southeastern US that utilize hand lay-up processes, Web Atlanta is expanding its automated prepreg cutting and ply kitting operations. Four additional cutting tables will join Web's existing assets in a customized environment optimized for FOD-free production and offering the region's aerospace, defense, and aviation industries a centrally-located, AS9100C certified supplier of custom-tailored composite ply kits.

To handle the projected increase in raw and formatted composites volumes, Web Atlanta has built a new 120,839 ft3 cold storage freezer. This brings the facility's total freezer capacity to 289,214 ft3, which is one of the largest freezer footprints in the industry. This also expands the volume of vendor managed inventory services that Web can offer, giving innovative aerospace fabricators greater options to contract out their raw material procurement and storage, inventory lot tracking, quality assurance systems, customized ply kit or slit tape formatting, fulfillment, and finished goods safety stock. For Web's clients, this can eliminate capital investment in specialized non-core equipment, employee training, and material support infrastructures, allowing fabricators to focus on meeting the needs of their growing markets.

“Every sector of the commercial aerospace industry is looking to increase build rates and fulfill outstanding orders,” said Mark Pihl, Web's President and COO. “Web's continued investment in the expansion of our Atlanta facility and the ongoing development of new formatting technologies will allow our company to stay ahead of demand for composite slit tape and ply kits and will reinforce our position within the industry as the trusted source for formatted composites at commercial-scale volumes in support of major aerospace development programs.”

The birthplace of aerospace-grade prepreg composite slit tape, the Web Atlanta facility was purpose-built in 2005 to be the company's Center of Excellence for Advanced Composites. A qualified provider of composite slit tape for nearly all major fiber placement lines, it houses both Web's primary domestic composites formatting operations and the Composites Automation Development Center, an industry-unique material evaluation and processability testing facility.

Press release issued by Web Industries, Inc. on July 29, 2016


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