An Abundance of Advantage

Braided composites are stronger, tougher, and more damage tolerant compared to the same structures produced from composites or metals using more conventional methods.

Braiding enables repeatable, uniform fiber orientations – even for shapes with complex geometries – which is highly beneficial for quality and consistency.

The level of automation in braiding technology enables process improvements – sometimes dramatic – that improve through-put speeds and reduce cost. Such improvements add to an abundance of comparative advantage for braiding as a composites manufacturing method.

Customized For Exacting Performance

The beauty of braiding includes the myriad ways that the technology allows for tailoring  to optimize the manufacturing process and the performance attributes of the product.

Customization begins with fiber content. A sample of the numerous fibers that can be incorporated into braided composites include:

  • Carbon — widely used for its tremendous strength-to-weight advantage. Carbon fiber is readily available in a variety of gauges and architectures, increasing its flexibility for design and prototyping. Carbon also offers an already-large and growing body of research and real-world manufacturing experience.
  • Fiberglass – strong, affordable, and predictable. As with carbon, a large and growing body of research and real-world experience exists.
  • Ceramics – more specialized fibers that provide high-performance insulation. Ceramic provides superior resistance to extreme heat at a relatively light weight, which is valuable for propulsion, engines, and motors used in aerospace and rockets.
  • Thermoplastics – synthetic fibers made from organic polymers, these are most often used in aerospace and military applications for ballistic-rated body armor and ballistic structures.

Customization continues through the tailoring of braid architecture. Specific properties that can be designed to your specifications  through the braid design process include:

  • Stiffness – axial, transverse, shear
  • Strength – axial, transverse, shear
  • Coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)
  • Damage tolerance – compression after impact
  • Fiber volume fraction
  • Fatigue response
  • Manufacturability – speed, degree of automation
  • Cost

Many Forms for Many Functions

Braided composites can be produced in a wide variety of forms in order to fit a wide variety of spaces or shapes and serve a wide variety of functions. Braided forms include:

  • Hybrid braid
  • Hybrid yarn
  • Sleeves
  • Broad-goods
  • Uni-directional
  • Noncrimp braid
  • Flat tape
  • Tubular tape
  • Bi-axial
  • Tri-axial
  • 1/1 Diamond
  • 2/2 Regular
  • Custom Architectures

Proprietary World-Class Technology

Through a long-term strategic partnership with Eurocarbon B.V. — a global pioneer in the composites industry — Highland retains exclusive rights in North & South America for the manufacture of braided and woven products that utilize Eurocarbon’s proprietary braiding equipment and processes.

Highland also utilizes Wardwell braiding machines to produce finer-gauge braid, as well as smaller support braiding machines to produce customized yarns and cords.

Highland’s braiding machines include 24-, 48-, 64-, 96-, 144-, and 288-carrier configurations. This array of sizes and investment in braiding equipment and technologies allows Highland to remove potential barriers – whether mental or material – to the design and engineering of break-through solutions to our customers’ biggest challenges.

Braiding produces composite structures with high strength-to-weight and exceptional durability that have improved performance of aerospace and automotive components, sports equipment, propeller blades, and numerous invisible yet critical parts of vehicles and machinery that we routinely encounter in everyday modern life.

Learn more about how customized braided composites can improve performance outcomes: Explore our Case Studies.