CompoTech PLUS Adapted Carbon Composite Telescopic Mast Technology Takes Mobile Police Surveillance to New Heights

Czech Republic based Compo Tech PLUS, spol. s r.o., is working with the Czech Republic Border Police, which is now using its Compolift carbon epoxy composite self-extending telescopic masts. CompoTech initially produced a mast for testing and will supply masts for 11 regional mobile police border surveillance units; each vehicle costing Euro £4.5M (CZK 126 million). The Compolift telescopic mast extends to a maximum height of 7 metres (23ft) and provides a steady, rigid operating platform for the 16kg (35lbs) of visual /acoustic surveillance and radio communication equipment fitted at the top of the mast.

CompoTech designed the lightweight, adapted telescopic technology carbon epoxy mast and developed the winch drive extension mechanism design. Made up of five interlocking round, hollow sections that weighs only 17kg (38lbs), the design was chosen in preference to a ~65% heavier aluminium alternative. The mast, with the connected surveillance equipment, is extended and retracted by a 24V DC 750W 2800 rpm electric motor, gearbox and winch unit, with the power and feed cables wound spirally around the exterior of the telescopic mast. The complete composite mast and drive system has a total weight of 64kg (141lbs).

The individual carbon composite tubular sections that make up the custom-made telescopic surveillance mast are manufactured using PAN carbon fibres and a wet, two-part epoxy resin system. The PAN fibres are accurately positioned using CompoTech’s proprietary automated, robot assisted filament placement technique, with the ability to place continuous axial fibres along the length; each section is overwound at room temperature and then oven cured. The end result is rigid, high strength carbon epoxy composite hollow section components, CNC finish machined to a very high level of dimensional accuracy and surface finish to ensure the smooth operation at speed of the assembled telescopic mast.

The key performance benefits of mast sections manufactured using CompoTech’s innovative technique is that parts are 10-15% stiffer, with up to 50% greater bending strength compared to a conventionally filament wound equivalent carbon composite laminate part with the same dimensions. As a consequence, the fully assembled telescopic surveillance mast is very strong, rigid and stable, with little if any torsional or bending deflection, so provides excellent visual surveillance camera feed image clarity.

This proprietary automated axial carbon fibre placement technology is extensively used by CompoTech to produce standard and custom made square and round hollow industrial breams for light and heavy production machinery in a wide range of designs, dimensions and lengths as needed.

CompoTech offers complete composites solutions from concept design and analysis to manufacturing with its bespoke automated process technology also available on licence with service and support. The company has a proven track record, with over 25 years’ experience in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide variety of lightweight, vibration damped, carbon fibre epoxy composite cylindrical and rectangular composite components for automated lines and industrial machine systems.

The knowledge and expertise gained from successful process development projects and the production of high precision, dynamic machine and automation systems is transferable across a wide cross-section of industries including: aerospace, agriculture, defence, automotive, hydrogen storage, mass transport, bicycles and leisure marine.