FIBERGLASS MANUFACTURING PROCESSES

A LEADER AMONG MOLDED FIBERGLASS MANUFACTURERS

MULTIPLE FIBERGLASS LAMINATING PROCESSES BACKED BY OUR GOLD STANDARD

Inside Goldshield’s ISO-certified facility, you’ll find a variety of processes available for your molded fiberglass manufacturing solutions. With state-of-the-art equipment, and more than three decades of experience, our OEM customers have access to a 260,000-sq. ft. campus capable of producing hundreds of large-scale parts daily. This includes a separate facility dedicated to cell manufacturing, allowing Goldshield to fulfill unique, customer-specific production requirements.

Open Mold Laminating Processes

As the name implies, open mold laminating of Fiber Reinforced Plastics (FRP) is achieved utilizing a single “open” top or bottom semi-rigid concave or convex mold. The desired “finished side” of the part dictates the orientation of the mold. In starting the manufacturing process, the mold is cleaned and prepped with a release agent. If a cosmetic surface finish is required, the mold surface is covered with a gel coat and allowed time to cure. The laminate structure (typically fiberglass) is “loaded” in the mold, combined with a thermoset catalyzed resin, and formed to the shape of the mold. At this stage, the molding process utilized to complete the part varies based on part dynamics and specifications. Those molding processes of FRP include the following:

 

Hand Lay-Up

In the hand lay-up process, the laminate structure, commonly a single continuous strand glass mat, a woven glass mat or an advanced composite mat is manually “hand-laid” in the mold. The catalyzed thermoset resin is introduced, and the materials are formed to fit the mold surface using a “roll-out” process, as well as a number of specialized laminating tools. Additional layers of reinforced mat can be added to key structural points to enhance rigidity and performance. The Hand lay-up process is most effective when molding complex surfaces, and is commonly used in the transportation, recreation, medical, and agricultural markets.

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Spray-Up

The most common method of Open Mold laminating, the spray-up process utilizes a customized spray “chop” gun that cuts or chops continuous strand glass (aka gun roving), and simultaneously mixes with catalyzed thermoset resin. The combined materials are manually sprayed to customer required thickness throughout the entire mold, then hand-rolled and formed with specialized tools. Due to the random orientation of the chopped fiber, the part is easily formed and provides outstanding structural integrity. The spray-up laminating process supports higher volume part programs, and is commonly used in the transportation, marine, recreation, and agricultural markets.

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Robotic Spray-up

Goldshield, with the support of key transportation partners, has led the industry in the high-volume method of Open Mold Robotic Spray-up Lamination. With multiple robotic spray-up rooms, Goldshield can support component programs in excess of 5,000-parts annually. Additionally, Robotic spray-up laminating systems reduce manufacturing variability, improve thickness control, and enhance structural integrity. Only a select few open-mold composite manufacturers have invested the capital, human, and financial to support robotics. Goldshield is a leader in this open mold laminating process. As noted above, Robotic Spray-up laminating is most effective in support of high-volume large parts, and is commonly used in the transportation industry.

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Closed Mold Laminating Process

Uniquely different than “Open Mold,” and with multiple variations, Closed Mold Laminating Processes in their most common form utilize two molds, a bottom and top, connected and formed precisely to the shape of the finished part. With this basic premise, multiple variations of Closed Mold Laminating exist, based on: part volume and geometry, size and complexity, durability and flexibility, capital investment and tooling, raw materials, and use of pressure (low or high) or vacuum. Some of the more common closed mold processes utilized in the composites industry, include:

  • Injection Molding (Thermoplastics)
  • Compression Molding (SMC)
  • Reaction Injection Molding (RIM)
  • Resin Transfer Molding (RTM)
  • Light Resin Transfer Molding (LRTM)

Goldshield offers Closed Molding through the Light Resin Transfer Molding or LRTM Process.

Light Resin Transfer Molding (LRTM)

As a closed mold process of Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP), Light RTM utilizes coordinating molds comprised of a rigid “A-side” mold, the base, and a lightweight rigid “B-side” mold that fits inside or on top of the A-side mold. Prior to affixing the two molds together, a pre-sized, cut and formed continuous strand glass mat or woven glass mat is laid in the mold. Using a vacuum, the catalyzed resin is pulled through the mold cavity saturating the fiberglass reinforcement to create a part with consistent thickness, a smooth B-side surface, and controlled fiber/resin ratios. Relative to other Closed Mold Processes, Light RTM offers lower tooling costs. Additional benefits vs. Open Mold laminating, include: less waste/scrap and cosmetic “B-side” surfaces. The LRTM laminating process is commonly used in the transportation, recreation, and agricultural markets.

Goldshield also offers a variation of LRTM, utilizing a pre-formed flexible Silicon B-side Bag Mold in lieu of the lightweight rigid B-side mold. This process favors lower volume complex geometry components, parts requiring B-side reinforcements, and reduces initial tooling investment, yet provides similar product characteristics as above.

In both closed mold processes, if a cosmetic A-surface is required, a gel coat layer can be pre-applied to the base mold prior to loading the fiber or glass reinforcement mat.

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Value-Added Assembly Services

Besides molding FRP components exclusively, Goldshield’s manufacturing expertise, combined with our Engineering support team and an active QMS system, has enabled Goldshield to effectively offer “Value-Added” assembly services. Currently, we offer multiple levels of component assembly based on the specific needs of our customer to include the following:

  • Secondary component installation
    • B-side bracketry
    • Wiring harnesses
    • Lighting systems
    • Speaker systems
    • Circuit Boards
  • Installation of reinforcement parts
  • Bonding / Assembly of multiple FRP molded components
  • Paint Ready Surfaces (Primer Paint)

Don’t see your specific need listed above? Send us your needs and requirements via the, and our team of manufacturing professionals will promptly respond.

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Part/Component Prototyping

Part Prototyping is yet another component of Goldshield’s full portfolio of customer program services. Our cross-functional team of FRP composite experts will work in coordination with your organization to conceive, build, and validate a prototype part prior to full-scale production. By following the Advanced Production Quality Planning (APQP) protocol, the Goldshield team will validate the fit, form, and function of the design, and determine production viability of your desired component.

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MANUFACTURING DONE RIGHT

From the employees behind the scenes, to the high-quality manufacturing processes we put in place, and the value-added services we provide to make your components a reality, Goldshield is committed to perfecting the way molded fiberglass manufacturing is done.

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CONTACT US

To begin work on your molded fiberglass project, visit our Contact Us page to send us a message. We’re standing by to deliver you with accurate, reliable, and repeatable FRP parts.