During the preforming process, reinforcing fiber is pulled through mechanical guides into a robotic machine that chops and sprays the fiber sections and a binder material onto a screen typically shaped like a finished part…more fiber is programmed to be allocated to areas that must withstand more stress.
Air flow drawn through the screen holds the chopped fiber and binder in place; the traversing section then forces hot air through the preform to set the binder and preconsolidate the preform.
Next, a second robot moves the preform to the final mold inside a press where a 2-part structural reaction molding resin is injected into the preform.
The mold closes to facilitate distribution of the resin and part consolidation as the resin cures.
The final part is now ready for finishing and installation.
Companies: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Technologies: Resin Transfer Moulding