ACS’s history is derived from OEM experience and engineering, the company’s philosophy is to apply its knowledge and technology gained from the OEM programs and offer the same quality standard to all its product line including the aftermarket. In a nutshell the secret is RTM, Resin Transfer Molding, it is a manufacturing process where dry continuous fiberglass mat is placed in a closed female / male tool. Under pressure the mold cavity is filled with liquid catalyzed resin. Most entry level or prototype composite panels are made using chopped strand mat, a cost effective solution and favorable for hand made parts, chopped strand mats are random 1” strands of glass mats compared to the continuous mats which is indefinite and offering a very consistent and predicable mechanical property. By automating the process ACS engineers are able to control each manufacturing variable to produce a product built to match the required specifications.
How can you tell the difference? Visually, ACS parts are smooth on both sides, and are prepped and primed. The rest is in the formulation and durability of the part. Time will tell you… It is all about the process and materials used…
ACS’s RTM process utilizes large presses and heavy tooling to ensure quality parts. ACS’s proprietary molds are computer temperature controlled for repeatability and part consistency. Average tool weight is 4-5000 lbs. Another secret, unlike typical hand laminated parts, which are made in low cost lightweight composite tools, which tend to distort and bend over time.
- Parts are same thickness throughout, insure proper stack height and an excellent fit on the vehicle
- Smooth finish on both sides of panel
- Similar mechanical properties to SMC (Sheet Molding Compound)
- Consistent glass/resin ratio content
- Fully cured in mold
- High filler rate for great heat distortion resistance
- Tested for automotive glass A finish
- No air pocket or dry spots
- Tested for durability and show finish, will not distort under extreme heat
- Environmentally friendly, low VOC emissions as part is cured in a closed mold
Many will say they can purchase fiberglass hoods for half the price. Just like cars, performance will vary with each model. ACS’s RTM manufacturing process has been tested and validated by both GM and Ford and can be found on some of America’s most recognizable muscle and supercars like Camaro’s and the centennial Ford GT. Unlike most aftermarket composite panels, ACS’s process has been tested to withstand High Heat and 7 yr. durability standards; a requirement for class A automotive panels.
No Gel coats are used. Gel coats are the industry’s “Band Aid”. Glossy and Shiny it is a perfect cover up for a part out of box. ACS’s parts are molded using no gel coats; this is the only way parts can be fully inspected prior to assembly and ensure our customer get a part they can enjoy for years to come.
Finally, ACS parts are the only aftermarket parts, which are prepped and primed. The final step in each ACS panel is to hand sand and prime the panels using automotive primers, a step your painter and body shop will greatly appreciate.
The next time you are shopping for Composite Panels, make sure to ask, how are the panels made. What type of standards and testing has been done to claim “quality fiberglass”, and most important what type of raw materials were used, we can proudly say our materials and labor is exclusively from America!