XTEK

XTclave™ Technology (Hydroclave)

 


XTclave™ (Hydroclave)

Background on XTclave™ Technology (Hydroclave)

The XTclave™ Composite Consolidation Technology (CCT) was initially developed as a batch-type manufacturing process for ballistic protection laminates, specifically Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI’s), and employs the programmable cycling of significant isostatic pressure (>100bar) and temperature to achieve composite consolidation in thermoset and thermoplastic based systems.  Significant isostatic pressure is applied to the article being manufactured within the processing chamber by a circulating liquid medium that transfers heat extremely efficiently.

This manufacturing technology is ideally suited to the manufacture of high-quality, void-free, precision structural carbon fibre composite components for the aerospace and aviation industries.  The XTclave™ CCT makes it possible to manufacture lighter, stronger and stiffer composite articles since the high magnitude of isostatic pressure can generate a fully dense composite with reduced resin ratio (higher fibre content).

Whilst autoclave systems impart isostatic pressure to consolidate composites, the magnitude of pressure is significantly less (usually 6-10bar) and often inadequate for moulding complicated and detailed geometry. Closed moulding in a press with expensive tooling can apply similar pressures (axially) but often have high and low-pressure regions within the composite arising from geometry.

The manufacturing technology employs the application of hydraulic pressure that is intrinsically safe.The expansive energy is approximately 99 times higher in an autoclave running identical pressure.

The XTclave™ armour manufacturing process is applicable to a wide range of lightweight armour applications (including NIJ Levels 3 & 4) and has the ability to form large complex shapes and panel joiners for vehicle protection (STANAG 4569).
In 2013, XTEK was awarded a significant contract up to US$1,502,166 by the United States Department of Defense Foreign Comparative Testing Program for the development of advanced lightweight hard armour plate solutions using XTclaveTM.

 XTclave™ and Armour Production

The XTEK XTclave™ uses a novel composite armour manufacturing process that utilises an unprecedented magnitude of isostatic pressure to provide enhanced ballistic protection and production efficiency. The process can significantly reduce the quantity of backing material (and associated weight and cost) required in Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPIs) and lightweight armour applications when compared to autoclave manufactured items. It also offers considerable ballistic advantages in behind-armour applications such as spall liners.  The process combines the batch consistency and efficiency of an autoclave with the performance of axial pressing and enables ceramic to be consistently bonded to composites in the one step, thus saving significant labour costs. Cycle times for batches are as short as 1.5 hours which is significantly less then autoclave batches.

The XTclave™ armour manufacturing process is applicable to a wide range of lightweight armour applications (including NIJ Levels 3 & 4) and has the ability to form large complex shapes and panel joiners for vehicle protection (STANAG 4569), and is :

  • Suitable for consolidating composite materials and bonding them to ceramics.
  • Ballistic armour including SAPIs, side armour limb protection and combat helmets.
  • Custom shaped armour panels for vehicles including cowlings, panel joiners and conduit housings.
  • Air, land and maritime vehicle armour panels and spall liners.