An Overview of the Out of Autoclave Process

Out-of-autoclave (OOA) manufacturing has come a long way to process the next-generation structures, particularly in the aerospace industry. The reason for manufacturers to adopt the OOA is due to the two important factors – money and size of the part. Traditional autoclave curing systems are expensive to buy and operate and are available only in limited sizes.

Manufacturers in aerospace and other industries are increasingly turning to OOA to cure parts. Out-of-autoclave is less capital-intensive and less costly, especially as parts increase in size and number. Several of the latest advancements push the technology even further, offering curing solutions that are out-of-autoclave and out-of-the-oven. Among the solutions under development are integral liquid heating/cooling and induction heating. These technologies offer the same benefits of OOA and then some – fewer steps, less material and shorter cycle times.

OOA is most heavily utilized by aerospace industry manufacturers as well as a variety of sectors are adopting OOA methods, from renewable energy to automotive and consumer electronics. This is mainly done to improve the quality of the products, increase throughput, cut down on production time, decrease capital, operating and labor costs. Curing time appears to be industries biggest bottle neck and this has forced companies to send employees to trade shows in search of new OOA processes. With the advancement in the OOA technology, some companies are using induction heating to create aerospace parts and internal car parts.

OOA is evolving to address the application problems ranging from part size, manufacturing costs, part quality and curing time. It also is adapting across sectors, including aerospace, automotive, renewable energy, consumer electronics and even farm equipment.

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The Power of Wind

Manufacturing composite repair systems for clients in a range of industries, from aerospace to alternative energy, we are constantly staying on top of the latest news, information, and technology as they relate to our clients.

One of the ever-expanding sectors that are attracting a lot of buzz these days is wind energy. In many areas of the world, use of this alternative energy is growing significantly, and in Northern Ireland, 2013 saw the highest levels of wind energy ever for that region. In fact, on December 17, 2013, 506MW of electricity were generated, which happened to be 36% of all electricity needs for Northern Ireland at the time, as well as the first time wind generated over 500MW for Northern Ireland. *

This was a cause for excitement at a recent Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group (NIRIG) conference, where the focus was not only on this past success, but on promoting future success. One of the reasons for this focus on wind energy is that Northern Ireland’s aging electricity grid, built in the 1960s, was not designed with wind in mind, making it a challenge for many to take advantage of.

This area’s infrastructure, and many similar areas around the world, need much better infrastructures to meet greater needs and to attract large investors who could support these needs. The industry and area experts are certain that many opportunities exist for great investment in wind energy, which would in turn bring great benefits. Those involved believe the best ways to do this are through educating the public on the economic advantages of renewable energy, and getting politicians involved.

Of course, Northern Ireland isn’t the only area where wind energy usage is increasing, and where proponents are singing its praises. A surprising study by Stanford University has even shown that “mammoth offshore wind farms can tame hurricanes rather than be destroyed by them.”** The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) credits wind power with everything from job creation to generating enough electricity to power over 11 million homes in a single year.***

Its use is growing and its advantages are being seen more and more; it will be interesting to see what the future holds.




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Student Training Kits

At WichiTech, we offer student training kits, which provide power and vacuum for four repair training stations. We have three different types of student training kits:

  1. Kits with vacuum inputs and RD-3 tap hammer,
  2. Kits with only vacuum inputs, and
  3. Kits without vacuum inputs.

Each kit allows you to operate four different training repair stations off of one bonder. In other words, instead of purchasing four separate bonders, you’re able to operate four stations using the kit, which will save you money.

With the student training kit, each student will have his or her own blanket and will be able to program off of one bonder. We offer training in training composites, and we sell these kits to technical colleges and universities. We have separate training institutions that buy them in training composites and any kind of private training institution. When training in composite repairs, you use a bonder and apply the heat to the repair. Ordinarily, you would use one bonder per repair, but now, training institutions can buy only one bonder that can operate up to four stations as opposed to just one.

The alternative way to do this would be to purchase four bonders, since they are necessary to perform certain repairs. Normally, when this equipment is manufactured, it’s manufactured in an oven, which, of course, is a very large appliance, and then these pieces are all assembled. When they’re repaired, you can stick an aircraft back in an oven, and all you have to do is what we call a “spot repair” to the aircraft.

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from technical schools about our student training kits. Schools are very budget conscious, and lately with the advent of using more composites on aircrafts and even things like cars that are starting to use composites, more people will need to be trained to repair these materials. With the right training, a sheet metal mechanic will be able to do composite repairs. Having those combined skills of sheet metal work and composite training will be valuable in the years to come.

For more information about our student training kits, please check out the following link on our company website.

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8 Steps for a Better Process Change

When performing an operational process change, it’s important to not only be efficient during the job but also to fully understand what the problem is and what needs to be changed. Here are eight innovative steps to take that will allow you to properly make a process change the best way possible:

1. Understand the Current Process

It’s important that you ask yourself, “Why is the process in its current state?” From there, you can determine what changes need to be made and avoid making previous mistakes.

2. Know the Reason for the Process Change

Usually, the reason for a process change is cost or variation reduction. For a cost reduction change, good cost organization is essential. For variation reduction, the change agent should know whether random variation or special-cause variation can be eliminated.

3. Identify the Specific Change to be Made

Once the flaws in the current process are pointed out to be changed, the new process should be conveyed in a clear and concise way. This can be done in the form of a text document, flow chart or any other organizationally appropriate documentation. It should be easy enough to understand for other operators to know how the new process will work.

4. Make All Affected Stakeholders Aware of the Change

The new process should be expressed to everyone who will be affected by the change. This can be done through a meeting, posting online and allowing anonymous feedback, etc.

5. Validate Process Data and Measuring Systems

Before beginning the actual process change, it’s important to ensure that the data and measures are reliable and to constantly check them to ensure accuracy or any changes along the way.

6. Train for the Change

After everyone has been informed of the impending process change, all operators working on it must be fully trained prior to beginning the actual project.

7. Set a Clear Line

The clear line indicates a point in time in which you will be able to categorize data before and after the change. Once the line is set, you’ll be able to keep track of the change more easily.

8. Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control

After the change has been applied, the results should be properly analyzed and measured in order to control the process.

By conducting these steps, the process change can run much more smoothly and allow everyone involved to be on the same page.

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October is National Manufacturing Month! – Get Involved.

Last October was the first official “Manufacturing Month”, and after much success, the celebration returns again this year! Manufacturers around the country are supporting the cause, educating our youth on manufacturing, and highlighting the industry and the economy in order to make a stance and bring awareness to the industry as a whole.

October 4th is Manufacturing Day — but companies and industry professionals will be celebrating Manufacturing throughout the entire month. Last year, more than 240 events, across 37 states, with more than 7,000 people participated. Wichitech Industries, and all of our employees, are excited to be able to join in to educate people on the increasing amount of career opportunities that manufacturing has to offer, and how the industry and ‘New Manufacturing’ has evolved over time.

Across the country, several Manufacturing Day programs will be taking place to help change the image of Manufacturing – which was one seen as dark and dangerous, and designed for unskilled workers.

Companies are opening their doors to students and professionals who are curious about the industry and letting them know what Manufacturing is really about:

  • “Manufacturing is technologically advanced, with ample use of automation, 3D printing, robots, and screen technology.
  • The annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000.
  • Manufacturers have the highest job tenure in the private sector.
  • 90% of manufacturing workers have medical benefits.”

At Wichitech, we’re happy to be involved in Manufacturing, and are proud of what it has become today. Get involved in National Manufacturing Month! Share your thoughts about Manufacturing, reach out to learn more, and experience what Manufacturing has become today.

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Getting the Training you need for Composite Repairs

Repairing an aircraft that is manufactured with composites can be difficult. Some small repair shops may not be as well-versed in composite repair as some large maintenance organizations are, but advanced composites aren’t only used in a larger aircraft. A smaller aircraft and its components can also be manufactured with composite materials, so being able to repair them is of utmost importance regardless of the size of your business. Buying the equipment you need to repair composites is only the first step. It’s important to have the knowledge, skills, and hands-on training to be able to complete these complicated repairs accurately.

When repairing a composite, it’s important to know that much of the damage may not be visible from the outside. When performing a “tap test,” and tapping a coin on the surface of the composite and listening for a void, you can find the exact area where the composite is damaged.

You then have to cut out a portion of the composite and perform a scarf repair, sanding outward so that you can clearly see how the materials are layered. It’s imperative to learn exactly how the composite was originally constructed, or you will be unable to repair it. Only then can you replace the material and repair the damage.

Reading up on composite repair is great, but there is no substitution for hands-on training and experience. Companies like ACT (Advanced Composites Training) and ABARIS TRAINING offer a multitude of composite training classes for students from a variety of sectors. With the knowledge and hands-on training afforded by attending classes, along with the necessary tools, you can assure that you will be able to complete composite repairs accurately and effectively.

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Why customization matters when it comes to heating blankets

When it comes to composite curing applications, they often require blankets that can resist chemicals, moisture, and abusive treatment. They need to heat-up gradually and maintain steady temperature maintenance and uniform heat distribution.

In all areas of manufacturing, products often need to be produced to meet certain specifications — because not all projects are created equal.  The difference between purchasing products that come in limited sizes and specifications versus buying custom made is phenomenal.  In fact, whether you’re a consumer, a retailer, or a manufacturer, sometimes custom-made is crucial.

The same holds true for hot bond composite repair systems and their accessories.  All needs and applications are not the same.  And when you’re in need of a silicon heating blanket, being able to purchase one custom designed and engineered to your exact specifications can be of great benefit.

We realize many of you have size and shape requirements that go beyond basic.  While we stock basic, commonly-ordered sizes of our high-quality silicone rubber heating blankets from 6×6 inches through 18×18 inches, we can also make round blankets, blankets smaller or larger than the in-stock products, and even shaded blankets, where the heat is applied more to one specific area, rather than another (often necessary when performing cures in areas where heat sinking my occur).  Custom-molded radome blankets are also available for those in the aircraft industry.

You deserve custom work for your composite repair– so think about it the next time you need blankets for a project.

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WichiTech Goes to Europe

What our long-term customers have come to know is that at WichiTech, we design and manufacture the highest quality Hot Bonding Composite Repair Systems at an incredible value, and have been doing so for years.  What our European customers will be happy to learn is that they can now get them even faster and for less money than in the past.  We are very excited to announce our new partnership with Aerotecs nv, located in Lummen, Belgium, which will be our center for European distribution and recalibration.

Through this distribution agreement, Aerotecs nv will be Europe’s place to buy WichiTech’s Hot Bonder Composite Repair Systems, blankets, and all accessories. In addition, they will be providing warranty and non-warranty repair work.  What this means is that you no longer have to send the products back to the U.S, thus providing a much faster turnaround and lower shipping costs and customs fees.  We will be providing full training for operating our equipment, both at Aerotecs’ location and yours.

Aerotecs nv has a long history in Belgium of being a full-service provider of other aviation ground support equipment. So you can remain confident that we are dealing with a company that is as reputable and experienced as ours.

For private, military, corporate, or commercial aircraft, and companies large and small, you’ve trusted in our Composite Repair Systems for years, and now it’s that much easier for you to enjoy their quality.  We look forward to this mutually-beneficial partnership, and to continuing to bring the best to our customers in Europe.

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WichiTech Loves Bonding With Clients at Trade Shows!

In the B2B world, sometimes it’s difficult to remember that when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of doing business with other businesses, there are people driving everything we do. People design and engineer new technology, make decisions to buy, and collaborate to create solutions that work for their businesses and industries.

In 2013, business is conducted either over the Internet or on the phone in most cases. While the online world certainly does make things a lot easier, nothing can compare to the advantages of doing business face-to-face with clients. That’s why WichiTech Industries attends trade shows each year. We believe there are many advantages for us, and for our clients in attending these shows:

  • We get to know the people behind RFQs and orders.
  • We receive helpful feedback in a face-to-face setting.
  • We meet new people and get to hear their ideas and plans.
  • We stay on top of the technology trends and changes in our industry.
  • We’re able to offer hands-on demonstrations of our composite repair equipment.

At the recent SAMPE (Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering) show in Charleston, South Carolina, we were able to display all of WichiTech’s composite repair equipment. Customers loved seeing our HB1008 — the smallest bonder in the business that is capable of handling the same jobs as much larger equipment.

We’re heading to Atlanta in April for the MRO Americas Aviation Week. Hopefully, we’ll see you there! But, in the meantime, stay tuned to our blog for more updates and information about our company, our products, and the people here at WichiTech Industries.

If we haven’t met already, we look forward to meeting you in person. Give us a call at 800-776-4277 to set up a time to get together in the near future – or at the next trade show!

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Diagnose Equipment Issues Fast With the RD3 Hammer at WichiTech

WichiTech has a cost-effective solution to detect voids, degradation, and delamination in composite structures. Our RD3 (Rapid Damage Detection Device) provides non-destructive testing for products with damage not visibly showing from the outside, but possibly containing damage to the core. Our device provides results that are accurate, easy-to-use, and essential to routine non-destructive testing.

You’re testing results will no longer be questionable. Our handheld device provides a numerical readout that clearly shows if there is delamination in the structure. If there is core damage, there could be condensation damage that you can’t see, thus causing the materials to crush.

Most mechanics perform a TAP test to listen for signs of damage by tapping on the surface of the material to listen for certain sounds in different areas. When using the RD3, testing can be done the same way – except easier! When performing testing using our handheld device, if the numbers start to increase, then you know there’s a problem with the composite materials.

When working in a repair facility, there’s lots of noise surrounding you. That’s why with the RD3 hammer, you don’t have to hear it – just read it!

At WichiTech, we get tons of questions each day regarding the functionality of composite structures. Now, you can answer your own questions and get results fast! Please read the products and services page on our website for an in-depth explanation of the RD3. And feel free to email our sales team at for more details!

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