The rising demand for Kevlar: how manufacturers can optimise their supply chain for precision cutting.
A manufacturing challenge
In 2020, the industrial fabrics market exceeded $4090 million, with no signs of slowing down. The market is expected to grow by a CAGR of 11.3% from now until 2027. As the market itself continues to surge, there is one material in particular that is driving the growing demand: Kevlar.
For years, Kevlar has been a popular material for many industrial applications like bulletproof vests, car brakes and boats because it’s difficult to break and remains strong under heat. Kevlar is also being used for new applications like charging cases and smart clothing.
The demand for Kevlar is growing rapidly due to rising needs for safety and security as well as high energy prices. In order to keep up with the growing demand DuPont is investing $500 million to increase production of Kevlar.
Additionally, new materials are being developed that are 20 times as insulating and more lightweight than Kevlar.
In order to keep up with the rising demand, manufacturers who develop products made from Kevlar will need to streamline and optimise their production. Typically, since Kevlar is incredibly strong, it’s difficult to cut and often dulls the blade. Kevlar also has individual fibres that move which causes it to fray, even when cured into laminate.
Currently, Kevlar products are often cut by hand with a variety of tools, including industrial grade scissors. The problem with hand methods, especially as demand rises, is the lack of accuracy and the slow production time. For manufacturers to keep up with the demand for Kevlar, they need to speed up production without sacrificing quality of their product.
If industrial manufacturers want to truly optimise, accelerate and streamline their production, they need to automate the patternmaking, nesting and cutting processes. By transitioning to automated processes, manufacturers will be able to maximise accuracy and material utilisation to ensure there is no money or material wasted.
By utilizing cutting-edge technology, manufacturers can fully optimise their supply chain. With Gerber AccuMark’s pattern making and automatic nesting abilities, manufacturers are able to nest complex parts within the constraints of material weave and product grain requirements.
They’re then able to seamlessly send pattern and nesting data from CAD to cutting room, without error, through seamless integration with the automated cutting system.
Once in the cutting room, operators are able to cut multiple plys of Kevlar at perfect quality. The speed of innovative solutions like the Gerber Atria will empower manufacturers to deliver their products faster than ever before and increase first pass yield.
Digital transformation is a must
To truly meet the demand for Kevlar, manufacturers must digitally transform. Manufacturers who continue to rely on hand cutting will fall behind.