The Power of Pultruded FRP Profiles and FRP Grating

You may often hear that pound for pound, Bedford fiberglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) provides the strength of steel at significantly less weight. The reduced weight means lower shipping costs, easier handling on the jobsite, savings on supporting structural materials and more. But just how does Bedford make PROSeries materials like FRP profiles so strong and yet so lightweight? The answer is pultrusion.

Pultrusion is a manufacturing process that pulls fiberglass strands and rovings through a resin bath, creating internal cross-sections that produce incredibly strong structural materials without adding weight. And because pultrusion is actually the combination of “pull” and “extrusion,” the extrusion of the material through a form allows it to take on any desired shape. That’s why Bedford PROForms® Structural Shapes are available as I-beams, round and square tubes, channels, baffles, angles, bars, flanges and more. The pultrusion process also allows us to provide FRP profiles in a variety of color choices, in addition to options for FRP grating.

You can find a wide range of FRP structural shapes in stock for fast, often same-day, shipping. The versatility of our pultrusion process also allows us to create custom profiles to meet specific needs.

The Pultrusion Process

The pultrusion process used to create PROForms structural shapes and PROGrate® pultruded FRP grating involves pulling the fiber reinforcements through a heated die to produce the desired shape. Fiberglass rovings are blended with the raw materials to deliver strength throughout the length of the piece, and, at the same time, fiberglass mat is added to provide strength across the width of the pultruded profile. The result is a cross-section of intensely high strength that allows Bedford FRP to deliver — you guessed it — pound for pound the strength of steel at significantly less weight. See Bedford’s pultrusion process in action for an inside view of how the pultruded profiles are developed, shaped, strengthened, colored and cured.

Without getting too deep in the details, here’s how Bedford’s pultrusion process breaks down for the creation of FRP profiles:

Continuous Fiberglass Reinforcement

Rolls of fiberglass fabric and doffs of fiberglass filaments are arranged for feeding the raw material in the machinery of the pultrusion line.

Initial Shaping With Preforming Guides

All materials are threaded into a tension roller that begins the shaping process.

Adding The Resin Mixture

This is what’s called the impregnating stage of pultrusion, or you might think of it as the recipe stage, because it’s when all the ingredients are combined and permeated into the unfinished product. The resin may include polyester and vinylester, different pigments for the final appearance and more. Catalysts are also added to assist in curing or solidifying the profile.

Turn Up The Heat

Here’s where the final shape of the FRP profile or FRP grating components is formed and hardened. The heated die forms the shape as the material is pulled through it, curing and hardening the product into the desired shape with uniform strength throughout.

Give It A Trim

The cured FRP profile or FRP grating components are moved along atop a caterpillar-style pull mechanism, where it is cut to the appropriate length. The length can be cut to meet an exact need or simply cut into standard lengths for inventory.

All The Benefits Of FRP

A great feature of Bedford’s pultrusion process is that it’s continuous, so profile lengths are nearly unlimited. You’ll get the same strength throughout the FRP pultruded profiles, FRP structural shapes, fiberglass panels and FRP grating, plus the piece can be cut to the exact size you need without the added joints and assembly that steel can require.

Along with the weight savings, high strength and virtually limitless profile possibilities, you’ll also get FRP’s many other advantages over steel, including resistance to corrosion, chemicals, weather and more.

Count on Bedford for the exact FRP profiles and FRP grating solutions you need. Our knowledgeable team is here to help with everything from product selection to shipping options. Reach out with questions, request a quote or call 814-623-8125 to discuss your project.