PACE Application

Great Lakes Composites offers an extensive range of capabilities for a variety of industries.  We work closely with our customers in creating new products and designing prototypes that will be used in industries such as the auto industry.





GLC is focused on the advancement of thermoplastic fiber reinforced materials (TFRP), associated development of new manufacturing processes of TFRP and new product development/implementation as a production supplier. The R&D initiatives at GLCI target the automotive, aerospace, construction, defense and general consumer product industries. GLCI materials and products provide state of the art solutions with significant lightweight benefit, lower cost and optimal physical property performance. GLCI has expanded the patent owned method of Direct Re-Inforced Fiber Technology (DRIFT) to a broad range of existing manufacturing processes (e.g. RTM, pultrusion, rollforming, compression/injection molding). The diverse forms of DRIFT materials make this possible. The development of new fibers and resins are the key in addressing global initiatives in energy consumption, environment, cost and achieving higher levels of functional performance. The 22,900 square ft. manufacturing facility is strategically located close to shipping services as well as access via the main highway (I-75). A dedicated physical test lab (1400 square ft ) for material evaluation and performance evaluation is also contained within this facility. Designated as the “east campus” it provides DRIFT materials on three lines producing tape, pellet, rod and chopped TFRP which can be either distributed to customers as a raw material supply or further internally supplied final product via final manufacturing capabilities in lamination and molding. GLCI presently runs a 10hr 4-day operation with a staff of 4 trained in the daily processes and products generated at GLCI. The facility is comprised of 3 Lines to manufacture base fiber resin tapes in 3 standard widths. 32 fiber resin formulations can be made based on a specific application. These tapes can be spooled, seamed, layered and laminated into panels of various widths and lengths at the lamination line. The base DRIFT materials can also be pelletized, chopped or formed into customized shapes to be used in a wide range of manufacturing processes either internal to GLCI or supplied to partners/customers for final product manufacturing. GLCI is 1 of three facilities in the US to with plasticizer capability. The facility is equipped with a Universal Test System and expanding to a QC/QA lab in 2016. Education/training is facilitated at GLCI. Full Capacity operations at GLCI can generate approximately 30M sq. ft. of DRIFT material and create 12 additional employment opportunities with its present mid volume supplier capacity. Within the present facility footprint this can be increased by 50%. Forty percent (40%) of GLCI work is Research and Development and 60% customer production supply. In summary significant manufacturing investments in the last two years for efficiency, capability and quality we provide to our customers are summarized below in overall capability.

  • Virtual Design, Analysis, Optimization and virtual/3D/rapid prototyping via Solidworks based CAD, CAE and CAM
  • 3 Drift tape lines for concept feasibility (.5 inch), prototype tapes for customer evaluation (2 inch line) and a production line (10 inch line)
  • In line tape trim/slitting
  • Automated resin feed with optimized die design for maximum wetout/bond beween fiber and resin
  • Rewind/Take up spool systems for full tape spools and canted roll, choppers to generate short/long fiber pellet, chopped fiber and rod configurations
  • Versatility to produce  32 types of  tape using PE, PET, PP, PPS, HMW, Nylon resins with E,S,Hybrid Glass, Aramid Basalt and Carbon fibers
  • Process flexibility in line speed (50 to 125 fpm), mass ratios of fiber/resin (40%/60% to 70%/30%) with full range of TEX  (113 and above)
  • Universal Composite Test System with environmental chamber and non-contact imaging real time extension system-full ASTM composite test capability
  • High volume Plasticator (pellet material) with precision metered shot and 25 sec process time per shot for compression mold/thermoform products
  • 150 ton heated press for molded product applications
  • High temperature ovens for pre heat prototype development
  • CNC XYZ panel cutting system (5ft x 10ft max dimensions)
  • Thermal laminator with max  width of 54 inch to process both continuous sheet or panel  materials with thickness ranges from (.010 inches to 1.5 inches) @ 25fpm
  • High capacity  54” take up/rewind reel with precision footage measurement and tension control for base tape, multiply and laminate continuous product
  • Automated seaming laminator feed system for precision processing final widths of base lamination tapes
  • Automated multilayer lamination feed system for multi-ply, core/multiply, and core/multiply/top surface laminated products
  • Laminator exit precision shear for accurate panel length cutting and stack/leveling station for stacking cut panels (1000 lb capacity)
  • 2 shipping docks for level and below level receipt of material and proximity to truck/rail delivery for high priority shipping

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Looking for custom solutions to your new product development obstacles?  We can help!

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Dr. Christopher Griffen
(906) 630-2403

Tim Spencer
(906) 203-0743

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