A new composite moulding technique has been developed and now challenges traditional closed mould RTM/LRTM and Infusion processes as an alternative.
Alan Harper Composites says that the remarkable growth in application of the Vacuum Press Infusion process (VPI) is probably due mainly to its ability to bring reduced cost not only in materials savings but by offering the moulding community the lowest entry cost to a closed mould production technique.
Andre Antunes, Director of New Markets at Alan Harper Composites, explains that since he started promoting VPI at the Brazilian Fieplar show last November, business has exploded. Although South American countries like Brazil and Argentina are in economic crisis, they immediately found that cost savings became essential to surviving. The claims of massive resin savings and waste, and labour reductions obtained from VPI provided an answer by reducing at least 35% of direct costs.
The company explains that, for example, Valle Equipamientos Especiales, the biggest ambulance producers in Argentina are now exporting to new markets such as Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, South America because VPI gave them a more competitive edge. Additionally, Marcopolo has embraced VPI due to advantages of flexibility and speed to put into production its silicone reusable membranes which can all be completed to production in one day.
Andre Antunes, who previously worked for several years with LRTM, RTM and hand-lay comments, “I cannot get tired of watching new clients amazed faces when they see for the first time the entire resin volume poured under the membrane and witness how rapid yet simply it automatically infuses the entire glass pack with so little or practically no wastage”.
He adds that VPI is a paradigm in moulding technique and predicts it will become the most popular closed moulding technique as it is obviously so economically attractive and easily adopted by the FRP industry worldwide.