TOLLAND, Conn., USA (Jan. 30, 2014) – The Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT) will install a trademarked GERBERcutter and laser ply layup system from Gerber Technology (Tolland, Conn.) and its subsidiary, Virtek Vision Intl. (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) in its new Composite Prototyping Center (CPC). The systems will be available to manufacturers to develop prototype products containing composite materials.
The CPC, scheduled to open in April, will serve as a resource for manufacturers seeking entry into the growing composites market by offering prototype manufacturing and test capabilities. The center will also offer educational courses to support workforce training and retraining of displaced workers seeking new high-tech careers. Nationally-recognized research universities will have access to CPC’s state-of-the-art facility to complement their engineering students’ composite education. LIFT is also collaborating with local community colleges to develop a certificate course for composite technicians.
LIFT’s new, not-for-profit center will house a GERBERcutter DCS 2500 computer-controlled, static cutting system that ensures composite plies are always cut precisely and a Virtek LaserEdge system which projects a laser template onto molds and parts to guide operators through the ply layup process without using templates. By eliminating the use of physical templates, productivity of the layup process improves significantly.
Phil Coniglio, project director of CPC, said, “Because Gerber and Virtek are experts in their respective fields of cutting and laser-projected ply layup and are one-in-the-same company, we were able to one-stop shop to get not only the latest technology but a complete composite processing solution.”
LIFT is applying a capital grant from the state of New York to renovate a 25,000-square-foot building and purchase state-of-the-art equipment. This facility is strategically located in Plainview N.Y. just off interstate 495.
Mike Elia, Gerber’s president and CEO, said, “Gerber is proud to support research and training initiatives with organizations like LIFT’s CPC. We currently partner with similar organizations in more than 30 countries to provide automation systems and training that advance the use of composites, textiles and technical textiles.”
According to Joshua Stoff, curator of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island, “Although aircraft are no longer manufactured in their entirety on Long Island, approximately 240 companies remain on Long Island producing a wide variety of parts for virtually every American aircraft that flies." According to independent business information provider Visiongain, the aerospace composites market is expected to record continuous growth in the next decade. World air travel has grown 5 percent per year since 1980, despite often challenging economic conditions.