What Can You Make with Fiber Reinforced Plastic?

A close up of a drill bit on top of a keyboard

The milling machine processes the plastic blank

The manufacturing world has transformed drastically over the decades as materials have become stronger, lighter, and more readily available. One of the most innovative changes has been the introduction of fiber-reinforced plastic. This incredible product helped revolutionize many industries.

With the advent of CNC machining, fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) now has many applications. The experts at United Scientific Inc. use computer numerical control processes to craft what you need from FRP for all your design and building needs. We work with expertise, accuracy, and precision on all of your projects.

If you’re ready to see what FRP can do for your business, take a look at all the possible applications.

What Is Fiber-Reinforced Plastic?

Also called fiber-reinforced polymer, FRP is a composite material. It consists of a plastic matrix that has fibers in it made of a different material. These fibers are usually glass or carbon, and they serve to reinforce the plastic to make it stronger without adding significant weight.

The plastic matrix, on its own, is prone to breakage under high heat or pressure. It is quite weak. But with the addition of the fibers, the product suddenly can handle more demanding tasks. This strength, without a lot of weight, makes FRP an ideal product for many industries.

Toy parts designed and precisely cut out by a CNC machine from a sheet of ABS plastic.

Benefits of Fiber-Reinforced Plastic

This incredible material offers tremendous advantages over stand-alone plastics.

  • Corrosion Resistance – Because of its ability to maintain integrity, even in water, FRP is excellent for maritime applications. The material remains intact, no matter the environment.
  • Lightweight – FRP is exceptionally light for its strength and durability, making it perfect for civil engineering and aerospace projects.
  • High Strength – The simple addition of fibers to the plastic matrix vastly increases the strength of the product. FRP is highly valued in civil engineering and seismic retrofitting projects for this reason.
  • Impact Resistance – Panels made of FRP retain their shape and integrity even in collisions.
  • Moisture Resistance – Fiber-reinforced plastic won’t warp, crack, or mold when exposed to water. This property makes FRP perfect for oceanic uses.
  • Environmental Friendliness – Since FRP has excellent durability on its own, it does not require hazardous coatings to protect it from the elements. FRP’s long lifespan means it does not require frequent replacement, so there is less waste.
  • Cost-Effectiveness – Compared to other high-end or unique building materials, fiber-reinforced plastic tends to be lower in cost and much more economical.
  • Exceptional Thermal Properties – FRP products provide excellent insulation, making them the perfect choice for many uses.

Engineers, designers, and builders know that FRP is a game-changer for their businesses. With the availability of this incredibly durable, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive product, the sky’s the limit.

Inlet manifold of car engine with fuel injection. Shallow depth of field with the manifold in focus.

Who Uses Fiber-Reinforced Plastic?

FRP panels show up in all kinds of applications. No matter where you are in the supply chain, there is likely to be a use for fiber-reinforced plastic. The highly-prized benefits of this material make it ideal for parts manufacturers, designers, and builders. The top industry users of FRP are:

  • Aerospace Industry – The high strength and low weight of FRP make it perfect for aeronautical applications. Aerospace engineers and design teams require materials that can withstand significant pressure and can handle vast changes in temperature. Fiber-reinforced plastic fits the bill.
  • Maritime Industry – Because FRP is less likely to corrode than other materials, it is an ideal candidate for shipping and oceanic purposes. The strength and low weight are also necessary for this industry.
  • Civil Engineering – Structural projects such as bridges, skyscrapers, and seismic updates benefit from the use of fiber-reinforced plastic. In particular, FRP is ideal for projects that involve retrofitting and upgrading existing structures.
  • Automotive Industry – With an unmatched strength-to-weight ratio, FRP is perfectly-suited to car manufacturing. From gas pedals to intake manifolds, this miracle product provides just what the engineer and design crews need to make their ideas a reality.
  • Construction Industry – Aluminum doors and windows often have FRP coatings for insulation.
  • Sporting Goods – FRP no longer exists solely in big engineering industries. It is making its way into homes, gyms, and clubs as part of sports equipment. Hockey sticks, rackets, and bike frames can all make use of FRP products. Sporting items with fiber-reinforced plastic are very lightweight, improving the player’s performance.
  • Other Consumer Goods – As FRP becomes more mainstream, it’s showing up in guitar picks, violin bows, instrument cases, and remote-controlled items. Drone manufacturers also rely on fiber-reinforced plastic.

lathe machining a plastic blank

Can CNC Machinists Work on Fiber-Reinforced Plastic?

Not all machinist shops can work on FRP. At United Scientific Inc., however, we are proud to provide excellent FRP work for our clients. From small and intricate parts to large panels, we can deliver what you need.

FRP is valuable to many industries and for a wide variety of uses. The CNC machinist works with precision and care to create what the customer requires. The USI team is proud to offer this service to our clients. Here is some of what our expert crew provides:

  • Molding
  • Extruding
  • Laminating
  • Drilling
  • Forming
  • Assembly
  • Stamping
  • Deburring
  • Swiss Screw Machining

Whether you need a part that is big or small, our team can craft it for you with accuracy and skill. We create the quantity you need when you need it.

Fiber-reinforced plastics have changed the face of manufacturing across all industries. Designers, builders, and engineers have almost limitless choices now thanks to FRP products. And planes, trains, and automobiles are built stronger than ever.

United Scientific Provides Expert CNC Machining

No matter what parts your company needs, the USI machinists can deliver. Fiber-reinforced plastics offer almost unlimited options in size and configuration. And the United Scientific CNC machinists are up to the task.

Whether you need a single prototype or thousands of parts, our team can get the job done. We have the highest-quality technology and expert staff to create just what you need. Our machinists deliver on time and with 99% accuracy.

As leaders in the machining world, we serve a range of industries, including aerospace, defense, automotive, and agriculture. Reach out today to the most trusted name in machining to get your project underway.

The Basics of Heat Treating Metals

A group of cylinders in the middle of an orange room.

metal parts on a glowing orange hot oven floor

Long before blacksmiths were making horseshoes and shaping armor, metalworkers knew that if you heated metal, worked it, and cooled it again, the final mechanical properties of the piece differed from where it started. Metalworkers and machinists are still using the same basic process, but now have precise techniques and advanced technical equipment to control the exact characteristics of the final part.

Specific heat treating processes will change the grain structure of steel, and make metals harder or more ductile – an optimal characteristic needed for wire forming. Additional reasons for incorporating heat treatment into the production process include increasing a metal’s resistance to electrical current or making it less magnetic.

Heat treating is just one of the processes used at United Scientific Inc. to guarantee a durable, high-precision component. Read on for more information on the basics of heat treating, or contact us today to learn about all the services we have to offer.

What is Heat Treating?

Many standard CNC production facilities use heat treating. Manufacturers can modify the strength, plasticity, and corrosion resistance of a finished component by opting to include a heat treatment process.

Heat treating metal consists of systematically heating the material to a critical temperature and then cooling it to modify the material’s physical state or mechanical properties. The high-temperature target, how long it remains at that temperature, and then how rapidly, or gradually, the item is cooled is what determines the altered material characteristics.

open door to a hot furnace interior

Types of Heat Treating

There are many heat treatment types, and one or more of these processes can be applied to any given component. The desired mechanical, magnetic, or electrical properties of the final part will define which steps to include.


Annealing is the heat treating process by which the material is brought to its critical temperature and then slowly cooled. The annealing process changes the physical structure of the material, making it softer and more malleable.


Like annealing, quenching heats the material to its critical temperature, but then it is quickly cooled, or quenched. Typical quenching materials include water and oil, however, gases, polymers, or salts are sometimes used depending upon the final desired mechanical properties of the part.

The goal of quenching versus annealing is to keep the metal’s original microstructure as intact as possible. This consistency is needed if the slower cooling process results in undesirable changes, such as making the material brittle.

Cryogenic treating

Components can also be cryogenically treated by slowly lowering the temperature of a part in liquid nitrogen, leaving it in that state for a defined period, and then putting the part through a more standard heat treatment process. This cryogenic treating results in a more corrosion resistant piece.

Stress relieving

A secondary heat treatment process requires heating the material to a temperature lower than the critical temperature used in the methods above, and then slowly cooling the part. This process is referred to as stress relieving.

Stress relief is necessary to remove the stress within a material caused by previous manufacturing processes. Without stress relief, the part can crack or lose its tolerances upon use, eventually leading to part failure.

CNC machine working w/ a coolant flush

Heat Treating Processes

Each of the types of heat treating listed above can be achieved through one or more different processes.

Annealing is one of the most common heat treatments and is achieved through retort, air, or vacuum processing. Retort furnaces are optimal for the continuous heat treating of small parts.

Cryogenic, air and vacuum processing are often used for stress relief. When used for stress relief, these processes do not change the material’s mechanical or chemical properties.

Magnet and metal nails on light background

Benefits of Heat Treating Metal

Hardening is a typical desired outcome of the heat treatment process. Selectively applying that process to a limited section of a component allows for localized hardening. Creating a specific finish on just the surface of a piece is another example of selective heat treating.

An additional reason to incorporate heat treatments is to upgrade a particular characteristic of the metal or alloy, such as improving electrical or magnetic properties or increasing the toughness of the material.

Iron and steel are the most common heat treated metals. However, non-ferrous metals such as aluminum alloys, copper, and other materials also benefit from the application of heat treating.

Benefits associated with heat treating non-ferrous materials such as bronze and titanium include improving strength, preventing cracking, and improving durability at high temperatures.

Manufacturers and Heat Treatment

The history of metalworking is impressive, and modern technology in metalworking continues to break new ground. These advances continually offer manufacturers improved opportunities in terms of component accuracy, material strength, forming options, surface finishes, and pricing of materials. Advances that yield better components while maintaining competitive pricing.

The industries that benefit from heat treating metals are countless and include automotive, construction, aerospace, and agriculture, to mention just a few. United Scientific Inc. is committed to providing top-notch service to all the industries with which we work.

No matter the industry or customer base, United Scientific Inc. operates under the Quality First banner. That means we provide consistency, precision, and attention to every detail – on the production floor and throughout the organization.

As a full-service Computer Numerical Control (CNC) component manufacturer, heat treating is just one of the additional processes available.

Join the community of Midwest manufacturers, engineers, and designers that trust United Scientific Inc. to provide top-of-the-line services. Our management team combines more than 70 years of expertise and customer service. For more information about the services offered by our full-scale CNC operation, visit our homepage here.