ESTRIM - High-productivity RTM moulding technology for Epoxy composites
Apply high pressure – get ESTRIM results!
"ESTRIM" a high-productivity RTM process for fast-demoulding, automated production of Epoxy composites for automotive and other mass-production markets. Lightweight, thin-walled composite mouldings of complex shape and large dimensions, made with Epoxy resins and Carbon or other continuous fibres, can be produced at very reduced cycle times: a part-to-part cycle of 2-3 minutes – a typical request from the automotive industry – can now be achieved.
ESTRIM (Epoxy Structural Reaction Injection Moulding) is a process innovation announced by Cannon at JEC Composites Exhibition – Paris, 13-14-15 April, 2010. ESTRIM is based on the right mix of technologies able to achieve fast cycle times and automated production of Composites:
* High-pressure metering, mixing and injection of a properly formulated family of liquid Epoxy components in a closed mould: this decreases demoulding times from 20-30 minutes to 2-3 minutes, maintaining optimum mechanical properties and surface aspect characteristics.
* Self-cleaning mixing heads: they eliminate the use of flushing or cleaning solvents, achieving significant economic savings and environmental advantages.
These heads can be permanently fixed on the tools, speeding up the production and eliminating leakage problems from the injection point.
* High-pressure injection, in combination with closed-loop controlled metering systems: they guarantee optimum repeatability of the dispensed weight from shot to shot. This provides high standardisation of the moulded parts and avoids unnecessary overfilling of the mould, with all relevant advantages (material savings, no leaks, cleaner working environment, no emissions of vapours from the moulds, much lower scrap rate)
* Dedicated preforming machines: they provide repetitive and fast production of the inserts to be positioned in the moulds prior to the injection, avoiding long manual preparation of the production tools and increasing the profitability of the equipment.
* Resins and Hardeners: as well as preforming binders, these specially formulated chemicals show dedicated and accurate technical profiles, fitting with the requirement of the new process and equipment.
A production rate up to ten times faster than that provided by RTM speaks for itself:
* Presses and moulds generate ten times more parts per unit of time, potentially with the same manpower.
* Production lines can be automated, making use of 40+ years of industrialisation experiences matured by other plastics processing technologies. Production, raw material and scrap disposal costs are significantly reduced.
* Multiple heads can be connected to a single dispensing machine to serve several moulds in a row, reducing the required equipment’s investment per point of injection and optimising the performances of formulation and dosing machine.
Automotive, transportation and aerospace industries can think in new terms the production of structural or decorative lightweight composite parts, since their production rates can be brought nearer to their assembly lines’ timings and logistic needs.