Metallic Tooling

Coast Composites centers its core competencies around the manufacture of tooling systems to produce flight critical composite structures used in the legacy and next generation airframes. These tooling systems include layup molds and cure tools in categories of medium to very large scale.

Metallic tooling systems for composite parts production are typically manufactured from Invar 36, an alloy of iron and nickel, known for its low coefficient of thermal expansion an essential feature to preserve structural integrity of composites during the cure cycle. Tools are also fabricated from more common materials such as steel and aluminum.

Metallic tooling is produced at the company’s Santa Ana manufacturing site. Approximately 50 percent of the facility is dedicated to fabrication (50,000 ft2, 4,645 m2). The area is fully equipped to perform every facet of tool fabrication including: material cutting, structure fabrication, heavy press forming, and finish welding.

With over 18,000 ft2 (1,672 m2) of welding tables and 30 ton crane systems, large tool structures can be manufactured and manipulated. Dedicated laser tracking systems are used

The company has developed welding techniques and practices that produce high quality mold face joints that have vacuum integrity.

Welding processes:

  • – GMAW (MIG)
  • – GTAW (TIG)
  • – FCAW (Flux Core)
  • – LBW (Laser Beam Welding)

Fabricated tools are thermally processed in the company’s large (75 ft x 25 ft x 14 ft) (22.9 m x 7.6 m x 4.3 m) on site high temperature heat treatment furnace. Other on site processes include sandblasting and painting. These features enable our efforts to be vertically integrated for tool manufacture.


AIP Aerospace 2016