Frequently Asked Questions

What are Composites?

What are the advantages of FormaShape's paint system over aluminium (extrusion) coating?

What are the advantages of FRP?

What are the advantages of working with fibreglass as opposed to aluminium, steel or an aluminium composite material (ACM) for architectural fascia?

What is a Certified Composites Technician (CCT)?

What is ISO 9001?

What is Lean Manufacturing?

What is the "Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies" Award?


What are Composites?

Not all plastics are composites. In fact, the majority of plastics today are pure plastic, like toys and soda bottles. When additional strength is needed, many types of plastics can be reinforced (usually with reinforcing fibres). This combination of plastic and reinforcement can produce some of the strongest materials for their weight that technology has ever developed, and the most versatile.

Therefore, composites, also referred to as fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP), is a combination of a thermoplastic or a thermoset resin and reinforcing fibre. Common thermoset resins include polyester, vinyl ester, epoxy, and phenolic. Common reinforcing fibre includes glass, carbon, graphite, boron and aramid. There needs to be a sufficient amount of reinforcing fibre to provide a discernable added benefit to the properties of the base resin. That is, the two materials formed together create a superior material over each individually.



Acrylic Urethane Paint vs. Aluminum Extrusion Coating

FormaShape™ uses acrylic urethane paint with a clearcoat from BASF. This paint system allows for:

  • Unlimited color pallet.
  • Bright vibrant colors. It is very expensive to do bright colors in coil and extrusion coatings. Bright colors are a FormaShape™ specialty.
  • Gloss levels from flat to high gloss.
  • Superior protection against UV. FormaShape offers a limited ten-year, no-fade warranty.
  • Superior protection against dirt.

What are the advantages of FRP?

The North American annual usage growth rate of FRP Composite Materials grew 11.3% from 2003 to 2004, demonstrating a rising interest in engineered fibre-reinforced composite materials. This interest, which is distributed across numerous industries, is attributed to the unique characteristics and advantages of FRP as follows:

Precise Tolerance
  • Fabrication by closed-mould Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) permits exact tolerance of complex shapes and forms.

  • Precise dimensional tolerance is a necessity for products across numerous industries, such as electronic equipment panels and enclosures.
Superior Strength-to-Weight Ratio
  • Higher strength-to-weight ratio as compared to other materials, such as concrete, metals, and thermoplastics.
  • Light-weight components are easier to install, requiring less equipment, time, and manpower costs.
bullnose Cost Effective
  • Low initial start-up costs.
  • Low production costs.
Design Flexibility
  • Complex shapes inclusive of compound curves.
Advanced Finishes
  • Any finish, including urethane paints (metals, opaque, iridescent; single or multi-color parts), gelcoats, translucent, pigmented urethane elastomers, in-part prints.
Textured Surfaces
  • Any texture, including smooth, dimpled, ribbed, simulated concrete/wood, and non-slip.
  • Low production costs.
Electrically Non-conductive
  • High dielectric strength.
  • Excellent material for sensitive electrical equipment.
  • Robust maintenance-free surface; dent-free.
  • Resins with UV inhibitor.
  • Minimum 10-year urethane UV color-fading paint warranty; Class A finish.
Corrosion Resistant
  • Non-porous surface; water-proof.
High Heat Distortion Temperature
  • 150° to 215° F / 70° to 100° C, special resins can increase Heat Distortion Temperature range.
  • Resins with UV inhibitor.
  • Minimum 10-year urethane UV color-fading paint warranty; Class A finish.
Fire, Smoke & Toxicity Rating
  • Compliance to relevant ASTM, EPA, NFS, UL, and other standards by using specific resins and additives.
column Environmentally Friendly
  • Closed-mould fabrication lessens styrene emissions.
Resin Transfer Moulding or RTM
  • Offers unparalleled control of shapes, forms, and, more importantly, dimension. The sample shown on the right is 3mm throughout the entire body of the part.
  • This precise tolerance, combined with the ability to mould complex shapes, makes FRP/fiberglass an outstanding choice of material.


FRP Advantages vs. Aluminum Composite Material (ACM)

Part of the answer to this is covered in our Company's tag line: "3D Architectural Design Solutions." Using fibreglass gives superior design flexibility which allows for the creation of complex shapes and forms, including compound curves; in other words, 3D shapes that cannot be reproduced in aluminium, steel, or aluminium composite material (ACM). In addition, FormaShape™ is able to provide a product with:

  • Excellent, uniform dimensional tolerance: +/- 1.0mm or 1/16”.
  • A strong and light-weight finish, by using high fibre content, which significantly reduces installation costs.
  • Any finish, including urethane paints (metals, opaque, iridescent, Class A finish) with a minimum ten-year urethane UV color-fading paint warranty.
  • Any texture, including smooth, dimpled, ribbed, simulated concrete, simulated wood, and non-slip.
  • High dielectic strength, providing an excellent material for sensitive electrical equipment.
  • A robust maintenance-free, dent-free surface, and with our BASF paint system, providing superior protection against UV, dirt, and graffiti. On-site repairs are also cheaper as a result.
  • Corrosion resistance, being a non-porous surface and water-proof.
  • Compliance with fire, smoke and toxicity ratings including ASTM, EPA, NFS, UL and other standards by using specific resins and additives.

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What is a Certified Composites Technician (CCT)?

The Certified Composites Technician (CCT) program was created by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) in 1999 to respond to the composites industry's need for uniform training and technical skills. Since then, more than 1,900 composites professionals have passed the certification exam and have become certified as a "Certified Composites Technician."

CCT training focuses on the fundamental technology used in producing a wide range of products within the general open molding, boat manufacturing, cast polymer manufacturing, and compression molding processing industries. These program-specific certifications place specific emphasis on the knowledge and technical skills required in production. The CCT program is designed to elevate standards in the industry, enhance individual performance, and recognize those who demonstrate a prescribed level of knowledge in a specific specialization.

FormaShape™ offers the composites industry on site, hands on, comprehensive Composites Training. From our fully furnished training facility through to our state of the art multi-functional composites shop, FormaShape™ is equipped to teach and demonstrate the full range of our composites capabilities:

  • Plug Fabrication, Glass Master Fabrication, Light RTM Mould and Part Fabrication
  • Light RTM Production In A Volume Environment
  • 5-Axis CNC Operations and Programming
  • Resin Transfer Moulding and Infusion Processing
  • CCT - Certified Composites Technician
  • Lean Manufacturing Methodologies including a one-day Lean 101 course


What is ISO 9001?

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer of standards. Although ISO's principal activity is the development of technical standards, ISO standards also have important economic, environmental, and social repercussions. ISO standards make a positive difference, not just to engineers and manufacturers for whom they solve basic problems in production and distribution, but to society as a whole. ISO standards contribute to making the development, manufacturing and supply of products and services more efficient, safer and cleaner.

The standards make trade between countries easier and fairer and provide governments with a technical base for health, safety and environmental legislation. They aid in transferring technology to developing countries. ISO standards also serve to safeguard consumers, and users in general, of products and services - as well as make their lives simpler. ISO 9001 is intended for use in organizations who do design, development, installation and servicing of their product. ISO addresses how to meet customer needs effectively. This is the only implementation for which third-party auditors may grant certifications.


What is Lean Manufacturing?

A Lean Enterprise is focused on "Customer Success". The goals for a Lean Enterprise and for FormaShapeTM are to improve quality, eliminate waste, reduce lead time, and reduce total costs. This means getting the customer what they want, with the highest quality, at a competitive price, on time every time, and with great customer service.

The Lean System is a culture. It is a totally different way of doing business that emphasizes the prevention of waste: Waste is defined as any activity that consumes resources but does not create value in the eyes of the customer. The seven types of waste include overproduction, inventory, defects, motion, processing, waiting, and transport. See Lean Manufacturing in action on FormaShape's Lean Page

A Lean Enterprise fosters a company culture in which all employees continually improve their skill levels and production processes. As the Lean Enterprise is customer focused, its products and services are created and delivered in the right amounts, to the right location, at the right time, and in the right condition. Products and services are produced only for a specific customer order rather than being added to an inventory.

House of Lean


What is the "Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies" Award?

For more than 13 years, the Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies awards program has celebrated the practices and people of home-grown, world-class, success stories. The Best Managed Awards program recognizes companies operating at the highest levels of business performance. It looks at more than healthy financials. The Best Managed designation symbolizes corporate success: companies focused on their core vision, creating stakeholder value and excelling in the global economy.

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