Carbon fiber masts are stiffer and stronger

Czech company Compo Tech PLUS has installed a range of carbon fiber epoxy composite self-extending telescopic masts for the company’s border police.

The company initially produced a mast for testing and will reportedly supply masts for 11 regional mobile police border surveillance units at €4.5m (CZK 126m) per vehicle. 

The Compolift telescopic masts extends to a maximum height of 7m (23ft) and can provide a steady, rigid operating platform for 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), according to the company.

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

CompoTech’s says that the parts are 10-15% stiffer, with up to 50% greater bending strength, when compared to a conventionally filament wound equivalent carbon composite laminate part with the same dimensions. As a result, the fully assembled telescopic surveillance mast is very strong, rigid and stable, with little if any torsional or bending defection, so provides improved visual surveillance camera feed image clarity.