The wetmolding system was used to produce a basalt-fiber test sheet for the Competence Forum.
According to the developers of the fully automated system KraussMaffei Reaction Process Machinery, the cycle time can be halved and process reliability increased compared with manual solutions. The turnkey system can produce fiber-reinforced polyurethane-based components, allowing for commercial production.
Premiere of the new Reaction Process Machinery was held within the Competence Forum, a kind of “an open day”, which the company occasionally hosts. Visitors to the TechCenter got the chance to see a live demonstration of fiber-reinforced polyurethane-based sheet component manufacturing.
The wetmolding process is considered to be a more economical alternative to the classic high-pressure processes. In the wetmolding process, a matrix material is applied in continuous strips to a flat-lying semi-finished fiber product and then pressed into shape in a mold.
In comparison with known high-pressure processes (high-pressure resin transfer molding), the wetmolding process offers numerous advantages, state the specialists from KraussMaffei.
The cycle time is shorter because wetting takes place outside of the mold, no preforming is necessary, and, in addition, recycled fibers can be used,
explains Sebastian Schmidhuber, Head of Reaction Process Machinery Development at KraussMaffei.
The manufacturing process for the fiber mats can reuse materials such as the waste product from cutting fiber mats made of continuous fibers. This involves binding the individual fibers and forming them into mats again. However, the fibers are no longer aligned, but instead statically distributed. The flow resistance would be extremely high for impregnation in a closed mold, which is why the resin is added outside of the mold.
The line is equipped with multifunctional machines, a handling robot, MX mold carrier with a clamping force of 8,000 kN that has corresponding interfaces for metering machines, with the option to process epoxy, polyurethane or polyamide.
The system capabilities were demonstrated on the basalt fiber mat, this material attracts increased interest from the supporters of sustainable technologies because they involve the most eco-friendly, recyclable materials.
Such kind of basalt fiber based solutions is a field of interest for GS4C srl; also Niche manufactures sustainable and quality sport equipment solutions; and Innovation Yachts offers the most quality yachts made from the fully recyclable materials according to ‘green technologies’.