Currently under development ACS is tooling a series of Corvette panels. Package will upgrade any C6 Corvette to a wide body track exactly like the new Zr1.
Z06 and Zr1 size wheels and tires can now be properly installed to improve handling and get the widebody style found on the Zr1.
Made from its validated RTM process each quality panel will be injected, robotically trimmed, prepped and primed to deliver a new level of quality never seen in the Corvette community. Panels can be installed on any C6 Corvette 2005 and up including coupes, convertibles and Z06. Components will be available individually, these include;
– ZR1 style hood with out the polycarbonate window (February 09)
– ZR1 fenders with no badge openings (March 09)
– Zr1 Rockers (April 09)
– Zr1 Rear Spoiler (April 09)
Stay tuned for product updates, parts will be available trough select Corvette performance distributors this coming spring.
Outer Panel Tooling Update (Jan 30th 2009)
ACS’s ZR1 RTM Outer panel mold has been completed and installed in it’s production press for its inaugural pre-production run. A series of parts will be produced in the following days in order to validate it’s performance.
Tool set consist of a female and a male section. Once closed the pre-determined gap between them will define the shape and dimension of the part. Over 200 ton of pressure is applied on the 3500 lb tool in order sustain the required pressure during injection. On the male side note a 1/2” hole, this is the injection port, once installed in the press the injection is performed from the top of the tool by an injection machine while the mold temperature is controlled by computerized chiller. The o-ring seals on the perimeter and holds the pressure while the resin cures. All chemical reactions are performed in the closed position, hence an environmentally friendly process and a fully cured part once de-molded.
Outer Panel Production Update (February 2nd 2009)
The first outer panel has been produced; generally several cycles are allocated in order to determine the specific variables to properly produce each panel. We can proudly state the first part has successfully passed QC. Several coupons will now be cut and analyzed to verify the glass content and various mechanical properties of the composite material.
Note the inner surface is as smooth as the outer side of the panel, the controlled thickness enables to obtain a specific stack height (stack height is the addition of the inner and outer panel along with the required adhesive between them) in order to get a perfect fit on the vehicle.
Unlike conventional hand laminated or infused fiberglass hoods no gelcoats are used in an ACS panel. The absence of gelcoat permits to detect if there are any dry spots or imperfections in the laminate. Generally microscopic air pockets occur in hand laminates, these pockets or also known as pinholes are concealed by the gelcoat, once the panel is exposed to the elements and more specifically summer heat, the microscopic air pocket will expand and cause a blister. A black hood on a vehicle will be exposed to surface temperatures exceeding 180 deg F. Another reason why RTM is favorable to the automotive requirements is the fact the resin is injected under pressure, hence drastically reducing the likelihood of air pockets, nonetheless it is preferred to apply primer as a post operation in order to inspect and fully warrant each panel is as perfect as possible.
Outer Panel Production Update (February 3rd 2009)
ACS’s ZR1 RTM Outer panel has been released for production. Today was it’s first production day, series of parts have been molded.
Inner Panel Tooling Update (February 6th 2009)
The ACS Zr1 RTM inner hood panel tool is completed and awaiting press time for its troubleshooting and pre-production session. A full day of testing is scheduled in order to determine the various injection parameters of the part. Given the complexity of the part we expect several trials in order to perfect the various variables in the manufacturing process. Hopefully testing will go well and next week we’ll be able to enter the next stage of the hood development; our first assembly. Our robotic water jet will need to be programmed along with our adhesive dispensing robot. Still quite some work, as a fixture for each robot needs to be validated along with the most critical of all, the bonding and assembly fixture. Thankfully for the RTM process each part will be the same thickness, hence our assembly fixture will be able to hold each panel, outer and inner panel, in the same location each cycle in order to insure a perfect fit on each vehicle.
Inner Panel Production Update (February 9th 2009)
The ACS Zr1 RTM inner hood panel testing has been completed. Session went much better than anticipated. Part thickness is fairly thin considering we are targeting an extremely high glass content. We managed to produce our part on its second trial. We are very happy with the quality of the part and can now proceed to our next stage; post operations. Panel trimming, assembly and finishing. As with all ACS panels, the hoods will be prepped and primed. This actually entails a quad step, as parts are really, sanded, primed, re-sanded and final primed. This ensures each customer receive a high quality part. Most aftermarket composite parts are sold in the gel coat stage. Basically a part right out of the tool and assembled. The extra labor involved is a great opportunity for us to verify the quality of our panel and ensure the customer will have a low cost final prep prior to paint.