Frequently asked questions
What differentiates AirGo’s SFTC technology against other reinforced thermoplastics?
AirGo develops components that are tailor-made for mission critical applications. Reinforced thermoplastics are highly anisotropic, i.e. their properties vary by direction. So two parts may look identical from the outside, but their performance will be vastly different. By controlling the orientation of fiber and their interaction with the matrix, our technology enables significantly better performance. AirGo’s composite meets demanding structural, environmental, thermal and electromagnetic requirements, where other solutions fail.
Do you sell composite materials?
No. AirGo’s technology is chemistry-agnostic, meaning that we could apply the same principles regardless of the starting material. We are not a chemical company, but depending on the requirements and the volume of business, we might develop customized material solutions together with our chemical partners. In most cases, our business model involves delivering the finished part to you.
What sort of components could benefit the most from SFTC?
Parts that are currently made using CNC machining or die casting are ideal. Generally if the geometry is complicated and chunky (rather than simple and nearly two-dimensional), AirGo’s technology could help you achieve your weight and cost-saving goals.
I have a part that is already made of reinforced thermoplastic. Can you improve it with SFTC?
AirGo’s technology is tailor-made and as such is intended for very demanding applications. If your part does not meet your requirements at the moment in terms of structural performance, durability and environmental attributes, yes, we can help you. However if the part already meets your basic requirements and you are only looking for further weight-saving, chances are that our solutions will not be commercially feasible for you.
We have to manufacture our parts locally due to government restrictions, lean manufacturing targets, carbon footprint reduction, etc. Are you able to support such programs?
Yes. We currently manufacture most of our parts out of Asia and that helps us offer the most competitive pricing to our customers. However, depending on your project requirements, we are able to produce and deliver the parts locally as well.
Can AirGo’s composite be used in a hybrid part, say together with metallic parts or prepreg composite?
Yes. We are able to over-mold our composite solutions onto metals, effectively creating a hybrid unibody. For prepreg composites, as long as the chemistry is compatible, we can create hybrid components.
I would like to explore the possibility of using SFTC to replace a part. Can you send me a quotation before we delve deeper?
No. The process of development is very specific to your needs. We do not offer standard solutions and as such, we cannot provide a formal quotation from the very beginning. After signing a mutual NDA, you need to share your drawings and technical requirements for a detailed assessment. We normally encourage the client to come to us with a cost target. We are able to tell you if the target is possible and in some cases, even provide cost estimates in a relatively short period; however a binding proposal can only be established after performing a preliminary evaluation on the part. This study depending on its complexity may take anywhere between 1 to 8 weeks and involves non-recurring fees. You will receive a detailed report at the end of this study. The content of this report varies from one project to another but may include preliminary structural assessment, chemical or environmental compatibility, data related to carbon footprint and energy-saving, regulatory assessments, details of cost involved including part cost for various volume brackets, cost of tooling, testing, etc.
Learn more about our development process here.
How long does it take for you to convert a metallic part to SFTC?
The duration of a project depends on your requirements. A typical project may take between 3-9 months from conception to the point that the part is ready for mass production. You will receive a detailed timeline together with the preliminary evaluation report.
Is SFTC suitable for food, pharmaceutical, high-temperature, harsh environment, EMI, etc applications?
You can refer to this page to learn more about the solutions that we offer for every industry.
Are you able to offer renewable / bio-driven / recycled solutions?
Yes, the material chemistry can be customized to meet your requirements.
I would like to develop a component for my application but I want to manufacture it myself. Is that possible?
There is no straightforward answer. Our technology spans over all phases of product development from design and analysis to tooling and manufacturing. It is therefore very difficult and costly to hand over the production to a third-party. In extraordinary cases, AirGo is open to discuss a business model based on joint-ventures, licensing or royalty.
What sort of annual volume do we need to have to use SFTC?
It really depends on your application and cost target, but since our technology is based on injection molding, in most cases we suggest that you pick a part with an annual volume of 1,000 parts or more to justify the tooling costs.
What level of tolerance and surface finish can you achieve with SFTC?
Our parts typically have a precision of 50 – 100 microns. A tighter tolerance is possible using special considerations during design and manufacturing. In terms of surface finish, we are able to achieve super high glossy A-1 surface with a typical roughness of 12 – 15 nanometers.
Do SFTC parts need to undergo any secondary process such as trimming and surface finish?
No. The parts are near net shape and can be used right of the mold, unless you need a particular process such as painting.
I need you to develop a part with a modulus of 100 GPa. Is it possible?
Tensile modulus defines the stiffness of a material, not that of the part. Moreover, ultimate strength and stiffness are not necessarily related. A material can have relatively lower stiffness but higher strength. More importantly, since composites are anisotropic, you should never compare the properties of the material at coupon level and rather look at part-level performance. Instead of asking for a certain modulus, you should define the structural loads as well as the maximum allowable deflection. For example, “I have a component that must take 5,000 kg of static load at this point and the deflection should not exceed 5 mm”.
How much load can a typical SFTC part carry?
There is no universal answer. The actual load-bearing capacity depends on many factors including type of load, where it is applied, chemistry of the material, environmental conditions such as temperature, etc. We have previously developed parts that can take up to 1000 times their weight before failure (100 g part sustaining 100 kg of load).
Is SFTC suitable for applications involving dynamic loads and impact?
Yes, our solutions are customized based on your requirements. AirGo has developed an award-winning aircraft seat using its SFTC technology. Aircraft seats have to comply with very demanding crash and damage tolerance requirements.
Is SFTC suitable for components that are subject to fatigue and creep?
Yes, we have previously developed solutions that were required to operate for 150+ million cycles.
What size of parts is SFTC suitable for?
There is no theoretical limit, but the mold and production becomes more and more expensive with the size. In most applications, we try to find ways to break down a larger component into smaller modules. We recommend that you share your annual volume and cost target with us as early as possible in the project. We will then be able to tell you if SFTC is commercially feasible.