Prototyping

Prototype Fabrication

In the Prototyping stage, you can validate the look, feel and functional performance of your composite antenna reflector. Eclipse will initiate the fabrication process based on the approved design. This will include mold design and machining, final materials selection and generation of process definition and procedures. Effective proofing and optimization of materials and fabrication steps are key to a smooth transition into production.

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Tooling

Eclipse utilizes closed mold tooling for the majority of our composite reflector fabrication. Closed mold tooling enables consistent product fabrication. Repeatable dimensional results and predictable fiber volume ratio’s are critical to ensure the highest levels of RMS accuracy. Our molding approach also provides the capability to co-mold inserts, latches, and other hard-points during the initial curing process. This eliminates additional manufacturing steps and subsequent tolerance build-up. Eclipse tooling also produces exceptional cosmetic finish over the entire reflector.

Capabilities

Eclipse has the capability to produce initial prototypes thru production quantities. Because the majority of products fabricated at Eclipse are custom antenna reflectors, Eclipse has a dedicated Prototype/R&D area for the initial build of each product. Skilled Technicians work with Design, Engineering and Quality to ensure product requirements are met and tested. Eclipse has full mechanical and composite laminate design capability, as well as a full machine shop and inspection area to support prototype builds. Eclipse has supported build quantities from 1 to 2000+.

Tolerances

Our SATCOM reflectors are built to exact tolerances. Most of our reflectors are built as multi-band capable – requiring Ka-band tolerances. Not only is the assembled reflector RMS critical, but our standard practice is to provide complete interchangeability between petals for our segmented reflectors. To accomplish this, all components must be manufactured with extreme precision.

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First Article Inspection/Quality

First article inspection is an essential part of product development as well as quality control in manufacturing. Inspecting a pre-production sample confirms whether or not the part meets all engineering, design and specification requirements. Eclipse uses Faro Arms, Portable Laser Scanners, and a gantry-style CMM coupled with Polyworks and CMM Manager inspection software systems for 3D measurement and mapping of critical surfaces. Probed surfaces or scanned point clouds containing millions of surface coordinates capture a prototype part’s surface form and other geometric features which can quickly be compared to nominal data in a CAD file or used as a digital record to meet the company’s first article documentation requirements.

RMS data is typically aligned to a set of datums associated with the reflector feed and hub assembly. Data reports utilizing Best-fit alignments can provide useful information, but may not provide the most accurate representation of the parabolic surface.

Eclipse Composites Engineering has earned a reputation as a leader in the development of advanced composite hardware. Our composites are designed to meet the rigorous standards of the U.S. military.
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