As well as flat aluminium composite panels, BCP also produce lightweight and durable curved panels. They can be engineered to be extremely strong and supportive, yet not add excess weight. Their durability also means they are able to withstand a large amount of interaction with external forces while still remaining in good condition.
How are curved aluminium composite panels manufactured?
The aluminium honeycomb is bonded to a skin with a special adhesive using a heated press, ensuring the panels are connected together as tightly as possible. BCP panels can be made with a range of skins and varying thicknesses of honeycomb.
There are two ways to manufacture curved panels. The first method involves a jig, which is built to form the curve in the panel. When manufacturing a small number of curved panels, a low-cost material like MDF is used to construct the jig. When larger quantities of curved panels are needed, such as curved walls and doors for trains, the jig is made of steel. The aluminium panel rests on the jig and is placed inside a vacuum bag. The vacuum within the bag causes the skin and core to be pressed together by atmospheric pressure. This method is most suitable when repeatedly making curved composite panels each to the same standard.
The second method is machining. Parallel lines are cut in the piece of honeycomb, and their position and the depth of cut correlates to the size of the curve in the panel. Where there are deeper cuts in the panel, there will be more room to form a larger radius of curve. This method is typically used for one off pieces.
Applications for curved aluminium honeycomb panels
In the rail industry, our flat panels are used to form tables and wall panels on a train, whereas curved panels are used in universal access toilets in order to make them more accessible and provide additional space. Panels made using the cutting method can be used in more bespoke applications, such as the curved support around a wash basin on a train. Find out more about how BCP works with the rail industry here.
The marine sector is another industry where BCP’s curved aluminium honeycomb panels are extremely useful. Due to their aforementioned properties, curved panels allow for more fittings or marine equipment to be incorporated within a boat. They can also be used as floor panelling, as they are strong and lightweight and able to be cut to bespoke dimensions.
A further use for curved composite panels is in architectural applications. BCP has been involved with a project that utilised 6mm aluminium honeycomb curved panels to support a thin patinated brass sheet and form a decorative façade around the glass entrance of a commercial property in London. The panel was made by precision machining a series of parallel cuts with a CNC router on a flat panel, which enabled it to be delivered flat. When the panel arrived at the site, it was able to be set up quickly and efficiently, as the engineers could adjust the radius during installation.
BCP can produce aluminium honeycomb composite panels that are suitable for a variety of bespoke applications in both flat and curved formats. Please contact the BCP team to discuss the options available for your project.