In Reply to: Re: Textile reinforcements posted by Carl Howarth on 06/23/00 at 1:21 PM:
I believe that if you count engineered multi-ply fabrics as made by Brunswick or Johnson Industries, textile based reinforcements have gotten into volume production. These methods of fabrication overcome the problems that I think plague other methods. (1) reloading is continuous, so touch labor is kept to a minimum and (2) fairly conventional equipment is used so capital investment does not include the cost of invention.
While 3-D braiding and weaving can result in some very complex and near-net-shape preforms, capitalization of new equipment is a barrier to widespread use. Also, of course, the equipment is propritary and therefore it is difficult to spead the capitalization market.
To summerize, I think the cost issue goes beyond just the cost of production, it is the cost of spreading the technology.