Today's advanced composites can be as hard and rigid as steel or as elastic as rubber, but still resist the stresses associated with flight at supersonic speeds.
However the hardness properties of these materials make it difficult to cut. Composite technicians are constantly introducing new combinations of materials, which are a challenge for traditional processing methods.
Previous conventional cutting methods, such as hand-held diamond or carbide grinders, band saws, cutters and abrasive blades, were used to cut these unconventional materials.
Due to the composition and arrangement of advanced fibers composites, conventional cutting methods caused damage to them by heating or fraying or raggedness of the edges.
In addition, these methods only allowed very slow cutting of individual parts. Due to the frequent delamination and raggedness the expensive modifications were necessary.