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Reinforced plastics equipment: product lines reviewed.



Offers its Prestovac vacuum-only RTM process which uses vacuum rather than positive-pressure pumping to distribute resin throughout the mold. The process uses two mold halves rather than one with a vacuum bag.

The process places precut glass mat in one mold half, pours a premeasured amount of resin onto the mat, puts the other mold half in place, and pulls a vacuum. The vacuum holds the mold shut without the need for clamps, evacuates air, and pulls the resin in throughout the mold without any possibility of glass "washing." Other advantages over standard RTM are said to include the use of a low-cost vacuum pump that runs off shop compressed air and has no moving parts. Because only vacuum is involved, much lighter, less costly molds can be used, and even large molds can be lifted manually.


Integrates composite product design and development with composite production system design and manufacture. Designs and builds all generic types of automated composites machinery as well as specialty equipment dedicated to a single product/purpose. Provides a full range of services in composites from product analysis and design to process research and development, and through design and manufacture of the most appropriate processing system or systems for automated production of that product.

Recent development programs include pultrusion of primary structures and various structural profiles; thermoplastic airfoil pultrusion; and thermoplastic lamination/consolidation process and equipment development. Production equipment includes:

* Pultruders. Fully automated, PC controls, modular construction, optional start-up accessory. Standard 8 x 24 in. and custom designs for special applications.

* "Pulformers." Pulforming utilizes RF-augmented cure and traveling curved die to continuously produce curved composite product with varying cross section (e.g., automotive leaf springs).

* Filament Winders. Laboratory winders and CNC equipment for helical and polar/tumble precision winding.

* Tape Placement Machines and Heads. Tape and fiber placement systems for flat and compound curvatured layup, including hybrid tow/tape placement machine featuring the first tow/fiber placement head reportedly offered to the industry. Also composite material cutting/kitting system in single- and multiple-module units (for hybridized laminates).

* Specialty Equipment. Designs and builds specialty, dedicated equipment to composite product specifications.


Manufactures a wide range of manual and fully automatic meter/mix/dispense equipment for processing plural-component RTM and RIM nylons, urethanes, epoxies and polyesters. Company's "Flying Wedge" features include variable ratio, temperature control to 300 F, vacuum degassing, positive-displacement metering and mixed-material output rates from 5 g to 70 lb/min for laboratory, prototype and production uses. Systems process heavily filled (up to 75%) abrasive materials and unfilled formulations for open casting, pressure injection into closed molds, high-vacuum potting into vacuum chambers, and composite filament winding.


Offers a filament winding system for winding asymmetric shapes using the programmable Robotic Winding System (ROWS), which attaches to any commercially available robot arm.


Manufactures production filament winding machines up to 12-ft diam. x 40 ft long. Machines are available either mechanically synchronized or with full computer control. Mechanical machines are generally limited to three axes and are designed for high-speed winding of medium-to-long production run parts. Computer-controlled machines are built with up to six axes and are reportedly noted for extreme flexibility and being capable of rapid changeover from product to product. A low-cost, laboratory-scale, full-feature, three axes, computer-controlled winder is also available.

Company also builds a variety of prepreg-tape production lines. A modular design affords the customer the opportunity to specify the exact features needed for a particular process. On line or off-line hot-melt coaters can be incorporated in the system. Fiber delivery creels can be supplied for both filament winding applications and prepeg-tape production lines.


A full-size range of prewired and pretested autoclaves is supplied. Breech-lock, quick-opening door design requires 60 seconds to open or close. Also provides a heavy-duty door hinge, internally mounted blower motor, and custom control panels.


Manufactures a broad range of equipment for FRP applications. The environmentally conscious systems include internal- or external-mix high transfer efficient guns for resin, gel-coat or chop application; RTM systems; roller impregnators and hand-held resin roller applications.

Slave catalyst pumping systems can be utilized with a single gun, as well as with high-volume applications up to 100 lb/min. Pressure tank feed catalyst systems can also be employed and, when combined with a selection of air-, hydraulic-, and electric-powered pumps, give the system extreme flexibility for applying the most difficult materials.

Conventional application systems for decorative and protective coatings are available in manual, automatic, or robotic systems. Accessory components include pressure pots, air controls, filters, hoses, air compressors, and cost-effective air-removal systems custom-designed for specific facilities.

Company offers two new mat impregnators. In the least costly model the operator uses a hand crank to dispense mat from a roll between two impregnating rollers and onto a take-up roll. Resin would be hand-poured from a bucket into the adjustable-width gap between the impregnating rolls. The second, more elaborate model could have an air motor and foot pedal in place of the hand crank, and automatic pumping of continuously catalyzed resin through a perforated metal pipe mounted over the nip. Automatic flushing can also be provided.


Supplies spray-up systems for reinforced polyesters and gel coats, as well as special application equipment. Economical airless, external-mix spray systems feature a lightweight gun designed for simplicity and easy maintenance. The gun has two catalyst orifices, allowing the use of undiluted catalyst, which is said to virtually eliminate the catalyst fumes associated with air atomizing systems. One of many new features on these systems is the cart design which allows for easy drum loading. Also available are the "Leader" series air-assisted/airless, external-mix spray systems for chopping or gel coating. These systems offer increased transfer efficiency and less overspray.

Gel-coat equipment includes a modular color-change block that permits changing colors at the flip of a switch. Other gel-coat equipment includes a gel-coat pump that reportedly requires less maintenance than normal pumps and eliminates any "pulsing" or "winking" of the spray fan.


Furnishes the following equipment for reinforced plastics:

* Fiberglass roving cutters in a variety of sizes and lengths to cut fibers 1/8-2 in. long. The most popular unit is Model 800A, with 4 1/2-in.- and 7-in.-long cutter rolls.

* Preform machines, either single-station or rotary, with turntables of 24-100 in. diam. Machines can be either directed-fiber or automatic plenum-chamber versions.

* SMC machines 24 to 60 in. wide. Wetout is accomplished by reverse-wrapping the material over a series of drums with ribbed kneading rolls and hot-water recirculating system. Two-spindle windups and automatic resin feed to doctor knives are standard. Calender rolls are used for heavier materials. In-line resin mixers have two pumps for proportioning and a rotary mixing head. The units are made for rapid disassembly and cleaning.

* Corrugated-sheet equipment in sizes and capacities to customer requirements.

* Filament winders in a wide range of lengths and diameters. Floor-mounted or overhead-traverse rails are available. Windings can be from circumferential to polar, with quick interchange from one to another. Simple chain drive traverse is recommended.

* Pultrusion machines with electrical platens and caterpillar pulling in various sizes and capacities.


Offers unidirectional prepeg machines for aerospace composites in 12-, 24-, 48-, and 60-in. wide webs and 1-meter wide models for sporting goods and other commercial uses. Resin filming machines of all sizes for precision film weights are available. Total prepeg plant equipment available includes resin mixing vessels, data recorders, heating and chilling equipment, resin milling, impact mills, prepeg plant layout assistance, and field service for all equipment to form a complete turn key company.


Offers its Compotec RTM and SRIM turnkey system designed to meet customer's specifications. System includes:

* High-production preformer that features automatic operation requiring no manpower, except to unload; production flexibility to make parts from 1000 x 800 mm to 2800 x 2000 mm; fast cycle times of 60-90 sec, including very fast transfer from heating to clamping station.

* High-speed press with shuttle bed that handles large molds with a single- or double-shuttle design; has total access to all platens, fast cycle time, control of position and variable tonnage capabilities to help control injection pressures, and large clamping forces.

* Variable-output closed-loop metering unit that rapidly fills large parts to produce fast cure times; features closed-loop control; variable-output capability for rapid filling of parts while controlling injection pressures; capability of injecting simultaneously with two mixheads from one metering unit; SPC data collection and analysis of all parameters.


Designs and manufactures electric infrared heating systems to process carbon and fiberglass reinforced plastics. In-line systems may be conveyorized to heat the material for forming up to temperatures in excess of 700 F. High uniformity is achieved with panel-type heaters and digital-zone controls. Systems are also manufactured to cure resins on the support materials to form a continuous reinforced sheet. Complete laboratory and testing facilities are available.


Supplies composite tape layers for thermosets and thermoplastics, automated systems for measuring, cutting and laying down courses of prepreg tape on flat or contoured surfaces. Multi-axis tape laydown head is mounted on a beam that travels on overhead rails. Latest enhancement is "natural path" software for off-line programming and analysis of layup on a contoured surface.

New products include the Acramatic 975C control system, which offers 10 axes of coordinated control with individual acceleration and deceleration rate, and "Look Ahead" software, which allows the machine to avoid laying down defective tape.

A commercial version of the thermoplastic tape layer is now available. The head features three heating and two cooling compaction shoes. The heating shoes are cartridge-heated (1000 F capability). The machine is capable of end cuts from +45 to -45 and of laying flat panels only, which can then be formed. Panels up to 5 ft x 20 ft are made on the company's lab machine and available on a contract basis.


Company offers resin transfer equipment ranging from pneumatic presses, molds, prototypes, production and system layout, to training and consulting.


Company's filament winders make 2 to 12 in. pipe with walls from 1/16 in. to 1 in. thick. Winding is controlled automatically, laying the glass filaments at an angle that reportedly gives greatest strength to the pipe. The machines can be run by one operator.

A tank winder is available for diameters up to 16 ft. It can wind helical patterns using up to 40 glass strands and has an automatically fed resin dip bath.

Company's new composite filament winder, Cobra Model 11-A, handles carbon, Kevlar, etc., for rocket motors and igniters in the aerospace industry.


Offers a complete line of filament winding machines, including small lab winders, high-volume production equipment, and specialized machinery for parts as large as 180 ft long and 26 ft diam. Control systems range from simple mechanical machines to versatile computerized winding machines.

Manufacturing is aided by Wimax computer-aided processing, a system that controls eight machine axes, 16 programmable analog functions (such as curing temperature), 16 on/off devices, and up to 32 tensioners. All axes and controlled functions are constantly monitored and can be displayed in color. Pattern generation and maintenance functions are handled by FiberGrafiX, a system of programs that combines easy menu-driven creation with graphing of machine axes in color. The graphing format and editing functions reportedly make evaluating, changing, and smoothing each axis a simple process.

Tape wrapping equipment and SMC machines are also manufactured. Auxiliary equipment includes curing ovens, extractors, resin baths, creels, tensioners, delivery systems, and computer control systems.


Designs and manufactures a wide variety of dedicated special machinery and assembly systems, ranging from basic drill fixtures, pierce dies, presses, and rout fixtures to highly sophisticated assembly systems utilizing a combination of shuttles, pick-and-place units, roll-over mechanisms, and where applicable, robotics. Also offers a line of SMC material pullers and charge cutters with a full complement of add-on options to allow tailoring of the charge cutter to a particular application. Pullers and charge cutters are available in widths to accommodate 24-, 48-, or 60-in. wide SMC.


SMC machines feature wide cutters and a dual-wire-mesh-belt wetout system for high glass content or heavy products. Machine is modular with several possible configurations. Dual fixed-spindle winders, bulk packagers (festooners), and combination winder/packagers are available in several sizes. All components of the SMC machine are available separately.

Open and closed dynamic in-line mixers and doctor-blade supply system for the SMC machine are offered. Units are said to feature fast cleanup, accurate proportioning and readily available replacement parts.

Glass-roving cutters, 4 in. long to extra-wide, are available to cut lengths 1/16 in. and up. Expendable razor blades and replaceable cot sleeves are used. Many options are offered for special applications. These include laminating equipment for circuit-board manufacture, and SMC charge cutters (slitter/blankers) that slit, trim and cut to length with the aid of programmable controls.

The company builds computer-controlled, continuous FRP panel lines for producing flat, corrugated or embossed panels. A sand or pebble surface can be added.

Also available are single-station, directed-fiber, and semi-automatic pre-form machines for low-and medium-volume applications such as RTM.


Company's airless chopper, wet-out and gel-coat spray systems feature "no-flush" external mixing. They are said to offer unique design, simple operation, built-in safety factors and faster, more efficient production results. The gun itself is lightweight (3 lb, 7 oz) with a single-finger, air-assist trigger control. It can be converted from a chopper gun to gel-coat system with the removal of one bolt and change of tip. The chopper-gun mount has a swivel for instant alignment of chopped glass and the material spray pattern.

This external-mix system does not need solvent flushing, resulting in material costs savings. The gun produces a line for precise spot shooting and following of mold edges. Because of the low pressures, the gun can be operated within 6-8 in. of the substrate. Deliveries of 3 to 23 lb/min of material reportedly can be accomplished. Catalyst is safely used directly from shipping container, which prevents spillage, overflow and contamination, and is pumped through a reportedly safe, easy-to-maintain pumping system. Systems can be stationary or portable.

New products available are "true" airless or airless/air-assist MEKP systems. The Little Willie gel-coat unit, with a lightweight gun, mounts on a 5-gal pail, making it the most compact system available, according to the company. The RC42 Rascal chopper system features a new lightweight gun, high-speed, high-torque chopper motor and a single-coil spring boom that has a 5-ft vertical movement with adjustable tension. Both new units come with the company's catalyst pump.

Company also offers high-volume wet-out systems, a Multi Color Block for up to eight colors of gel coat, and a Big Bertha high-volume chopper gun that can dispense up to 35 lb/min of laminate and can handle six strands of glass simultaneously.


Offers heavy-duty Cat-A-Puller takeoff, cutoff saw and pneumatic dump table for pultrusion applications. The equipment is capable of handling a part envelope up to a 0.5 ft high x 1 ft wide capacity. Takeoff is designed for pulling forces up to 10,000 lb on a continuous basis. Traveling saw is available with abrasive or diamond blade in wet or dry cutting configurations. Controls include d-c drives with an option for an all-digital drive. A load-cell force gauge is available for the puller to display pulling force. Safety features are said to meet or exceed OSHA standards.


Company represents Hoesch Maschinenfabrik Deutschland of West Germany, which builds custom parallelism-controlled SMC and thermoplastic presses and also engineers and installs complete automated SMC molding systems, which can include sheet blanking from rollstock, stacking of charges on a weigh table, air removal from charge stacks, loading charges into the mold, and removal of molded parts. One automated system can service two presses.


Manufactures spray-up equipment for processing fiber reinforced plastic. The line includes internal- and external-mix spray systems for gel-coat, spray-up and wet-out. The LPA-II-AAC air-assist/airless spray gun with exclusive Air Assist Containment is the latest introduction. When used with the SP-85 catalyst slavepump, it reportedly provides excellent transfer efficiency and extremely low emission levels. Company produces a complete line of airless, air-atomized and air-assist/airless systems.

Company also manufactures a complete line of pour, spray and packaging urethane foam systems. Each system features the patented air-purge prober gun and is available with outputs from 4 to 50 lb/min.


Plural-component equipment systems are supplied for metering, mixing, spraying or casting urethane, epoxy, polysulfide or filled polyester casting compounds. Systems have been supplied employing pumping units with mix ratios from 1:1 to 18:1, drawing materials from two storage tanks (catalyst on one side and resin on the other) and delivering the components to a static-mixing head where a transfer hose can be used to deliver mix to spray guns or dispensing valves.

Company's Fluid Technology unit specializes in supplying and installing turnkey systems for a variety of plural-component applications, including foams, sealants, adhesives and coatings.


See Girard Associates.


Company's composite tape layer is an automated, multi-axis system for measuring, cutting, and laying down courses of prepreg tape on flat or contoured surfaces. Tape laydown head is mounted on a beam that travels on overhead rails. Systems can lay down in two directions, rather than "dead-heading" back to a starting position. "Natural path" software permits efficient off-line programming of layup on contoured surfaces. Company will also custom-build pultrusion, RIM, and filament winding machines.


Equipment for various technologies in reinforced plastics processing, spraying, spiral winding, pultrusion, and hand layup are available from Italian companies. Information is available through this office.


Supplies plunger and diaphragm-type metering pumps for use in RTM or other systems. Pumps are available in a variety of materials with electronic and pneumatic controllers.


Company has developed a new automated preforming process for RTM and SRIM. The process (patent-pending), called CompForm, is said to provide much greater flexibility in preform design than ever before. Basically, the process applies binder resin to precut mats, heats the binder with only minimal heating of the reinforcement or mold, molds the preform, and attaches structural additions such as ribs or cores. It uses a "directed-energy" technique of heating the preform binder with either mocrowave or uv energy. The heating/curing energy is applied right in the forming tool, which has a plastic skin that is transparent to both forms of energy. Binders, developed by Freeman Chemical, are used for microwave and uv curing, and the wavelength of the curing energy is tuned specifically to the binder used. The binder loses its receptivity to the uv or microwave energy as it cures, which makes it possible to "chemically stitch" on additional preform sections without degrading the binder on previously cured sections. Company reports that the very small mass of binder present allows very fast cures (under 10 seconds) with negligible heat buildup, since it is immediately dissipated into the mass of reinforcement.


Offers air operated pumps for transfer and spray-up of FRP fluid materials from 55-gal drums, 5-gal pails, or remote bulk tanks. Pumps operate inside or outside in all weather to move product to mixer or spray head. All pump accessories are also furnished: primers, pressure primers, hose, control valves, measuring valves, mixing and metering equipment.


Supplies autoclaves for curing composites. Systems can be supplied with data loggers and instrumentation for manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic operation using microprocessor or host computer.


Company's polyester resin/catalyst metering system for continuous or intermittent feed of catalyzed mix in RTM or filament winding reportedly allows variable ratio control of 0.6-4%, outputs up to 100 lb/min, resin loading to 70%, and use of most common catalysts. Multiflow series machines proportion, mix, and inject epoxies and urethanes into closed molds and can also be used to meter, mix and dispense SMC.


Supplies components and complete systems for SMC mixing and sheet compacting through association with G. Wood Associates. Complete installations, from bulk storage through in-line continuous A- and B-side mixing and double-belt compaction, are offered. Most key components are designed for easy cleanout without disassembly. SMC compaction machine can offer 1000 lb/sq ft working pressure and load-cell rewind tension control.


Designs and builds fabric saturation systems for fiberglass, carbon/graphite and Aramid fabrics. Complete systems include letoffs, splice presses, precision metering rolls, curing ovens, compaction rolls and windups. Company also includes pollution-control incinerators and the requisite d-c drives and instrumentation.


Spray-up equipment includes an airless/air-assist chopper gun, which incorporates many features of the previous MG-3000, such as Magnum's patented airless/air-assist technique. It reportedly features an air trigger that reduces operator fatigue and eliminates lead/lag between catalyst and resin.

The ATG-3500 gel/wet-out gun also incorporates the patented airless/air-assist technique and reportedly gives superior pattern control on gel coat without tails. Its air trigger is said to allow the operator to feather into tight recesses without flooding and to eliminate the possibility of spraying catalyst without gel coat. Both guns are lighter and feature a handle that centers the weight over the back of the handle, making them easier to maneuver.

A putty dispensing machine for dispensing any type of marine putty at pressures up to 3,000,000 cps is available. A slave arm meters the catalyst in tenth percent increments. Putty and catalyst are then mixed and dispensed through a reportedly unique mixing block and chamber. Company sources say unit is designed to help reduce waste and labor in application of marine putty.

Company is introducing four new products:

* Self-balancing, internal-mix chopper system that will automatically balance the catalyst pressure when spray pressures or outputs are changed.

* Self-balancing, internal-mix gel-coat system, which operates in much the same way as the new chopper, results in reportedly superior mixing.

* Three-component, internal-mix foaming polyester system that meters both the catalyst and blowing agent which are then introduced and mixed with resin at the gun.

* Internal-mix resin roller impregnator that mixes resin and catalyst at the roller and introduces the catalyzed resin inside the perforated roller where it is evenly distributed throughout.


Manufactures computer-controlled filament winding equipment from small lab machines to large production machines in excess of 160 in. diam. and 60 ft long. Custom made machines to fit exact customer needs are offered.

Company's latest computer-controlled design for filament winding is its third generation COMPOSITRAX, which controls up to 6 axes and 32 auxiliary outputs. The Pattern Manipulation Package (PMP) is an off-line system designed to generate COMPOSITRAX compatible programs from the convenience of a desk top. Specialized editing functions such as cubic splines and data smoothing aid in manipulating axis motion. A complete service department features five full-time specialists available on 24-hour notice, in-house repairs, programming and maintenance training, preventive maintenance agreements and turnkey installations. Ancillary filament winding equipment offered includes tensioners, creels, resin baths, etc.


The R-2 spray gun is designed to spray polyester and epoxy gel coats and laminating resins, but can also spray elastomers, such as latex and polysulfide rubbers. It is said to eliminate air bubbles and holes in mold making. The gun dispenses from paper or plastic cups, which can be discarded to avoid time-consuming cleanup.


Though primarily a supplier of custom-engineered filler systems for reinforced plastics and coatings, Patentech also offers a specially designed spray-up equipment system, including a mixer for resin and filler. The system is expressly designed for handling high filler loads to enable maximum resin extension. Rotational casting equipment is also available.

Company has introduced a new low-cost mixer/catalyzer dispenser system for highly filled thermoset resins. The new machine, called McD, is capable of pumping 5 gal/min of 19,500 cps viscosity formulations.


Canadian firm offers a complete line of custom presses for compression molding, SMC, R/M, etc. Capacities to 5000 tons, sophisticated parallelism controls, mold booking, and transfer devices can all be designed to suit the customer's specifications. Also offers complete press lines for industrial and decorative plastic laminate.


See Binks Mfg. Co.


Designs and manufactures pultrusion machines having the following pulling loads and product envelopes: 8-ton (sections 30 in. x 12 in.), 6-ton (sections 24 in. x 5.5 in.), 3-ton (sections 10 in. x 5 in.), and 0.55-ton (sections 5 in. x 3 in.). The larger models have automatic saw systems, three-zone die heat control, automatic purge cycle and manual override.

Filament winding machines for both general and special purposes are available with numerical and digital control and in mandrel sizes up to 25 ft x 5 ft diam. Tensioning and resin impregnation systems are supplied for various applications. Most of the company's machinery is built in England with assembly operations in the U.S.


Company's standard caterpillar-type pullers are available in widths of 24 to 60 in., the most popular size being 36 in. A complete line, or just the drawings, can be supplied for roving creel, infeed and wetout area, adjustable mold stand, heating system, cutoff saw, and conveyor system. Custom-made equipment is also offered, including a custom lab line with 8 x 0.1 in. flat-plate die and computer readout of temperature and pulling forces. Dies, training services, technology licensing, and R&D services are also provided.


Pulstar Model 2408 is a fully automated, modular pultrusion system designed to produce profiles 24 x 8 in. Other machines are available with product envelopes of 30 x 8 in., 16 x 6 in. or 8 x 4 in. Systems are hydraulically powered and controlled by microprocessors. Sequencing is done with solid-state programmable controllers. Input or output modules can be added and simple software changes made with a hand-held programmer.

The resin impregnation station has a powered, vertically adjustable table for last setup. Die station is electrically heated, has a powered top platen for easy access for in-process maintenance or start up, and bottom platens powered to provide centerline control over product to reduce warpage. A 34 in. long platen with two heating zones is available for dies up to 36 in. A second platen system, 56 in. long with three heating zones is optional. All platens have a pre-gel cooling zone at the entrance to permit temporary shutdown without gelling the profile. Reciprocating-clamp puller system has adjustable pressure features, automatic flying cutoff saw mounted below the table, is orbitally operated, and has a manually adjustable envelope.

The Gelstar Thermal Analyzer for monitoring cure conditions on-line inside the pultrusion die is available. Off-line, it can perform automatic SPI gel and cure tests and print out results.

Also offered are auxiliary equipment and tooling necessary for a complete pultrusion operation, plus technical assistance, product design, composite design, prototyping, and manufacturing technology.


Offers standard prepeg systems 12-60 in. or one meter wide for producing unidirectional tape in laboratory, preproduction and full-scale production environments. Systems include a temperature-controlled resin mixer (4-liter to 600-gal capacity) capable of handling high-viscosity resins (up to 11 million cp). Series RRB resin bath for impregnation (0.75, 2.5 and 5.5 gal), with an ultrasonic transducer to keep liquid resins in suspension, aid wetting, and eliminate "dead spots" within the resin bath. Bath also has interchangeable metering bars to optimize impregnation, including steel and pneumatically expandable rigid and flexible plastic bars for various types and sizes of tows: and a microprocessor-controlled temperature management system for up to 156 F standard (250 F optional), reportedly accurate to +/-2 1/2 F. New Exotherm Reaction Control system monitors rate of temperature change in a mixer or resin bath and halts an out-of-control reaction through an automatic dilution sequence.

Also available are a small two-axis sample winder for test purposes, which produces 14 x 14 in. flat "coupons" that reportedly are free of compression and tension stresses formed on conventional drum-type filament winders; and a 14 x 14 in. sample consolidation press with integral heating.

Company will also design, manufacture, install and start up other composites production equipment, such as for pultrusion or filament winding, including full-scale production plants.


Completely engineered systems and individual components are offered for all aspects of automotive SMC manufacturing, from raw-materials handling to finishing molded parts. Individual elements of modular systems include the following:

From Littleford Bros.:

* Handling of raw materials--pneumatic transfer of dry and liquid ingredients from bulk transport to silo to weigh hoppers above mixers.

* In-line mixing--completely automatic compounding and metering operation.

* SMC machine--24 to 60 in. production machines incorporating state-of-the-art design features.

* TMC machine--24-in. production machines built under license using a USS Chemicals Polyester Unit design.

From Imperial Machine Co., Farlow Associates, and Powermatic:

* Automatic blanking--slitting and cutting coil stock into desired charge sizes.

* Automatic loading/unloading of mold--accurate 3-dimensional charge placement and finished-parts removal for single- and multicavity tools.

* Trim and pierce press--available in full range of tonnages, platen sizes, daylights and strokes.

* Finishing fixtures and pre-assembly operations, such as drilling and stud-driving, are accomplished on single- or multipurpose units. Bonders are also available.

From John T. Hepburn Ltd.:

* Hydraulic compression press-standard series of presses in full range of tonnages and platen areas, with controls and other features specifically designed for SMC molding.

* Mold-temperature controls--dual-zone oil unit for independent control of two mold halves.

From Billion:

* BMC injection machines--special "ZMC" design combines screw and plunger concepts to provide minimum fiber degradation and maximum strength retention in molded parts, according to the company.

From Heat Transfer Technologies:

* Hot-air impringement ovens-unique systems provide what is said to be unusually fast and efficient preheating of stampable reinforced thermoplastic sheet or bonding of SMC parts via direct impingement of a high-velocity stream of electrically heated compressed air.


Manufactures a variety of products for the RTM process, including clamps, sensors, rubber seals, sprues, plugs, vacuum generators, heater cloth for internal tool-heating and high-temperature core materials.

Also manufactures its Hypaject resin injection system designed to inject/dispense a variety of thermosetting resins, under pressure, to manufacture reinforced or unreinforced moldings. Materials include unsaturated polyester, vinylester, epoxy, phenolic, methyl methacrylate, etc. Models are available in capacities from 0.8 gal to 16 gal.

Company has also designed complete automated RTM operations, using specially designed thermal-break valves, arrival/gel/cure sensors and fully automatic mold open and close systems.

In addition, Company conducts courses in composite RTM tooling technology for the composites industry.


Offers continuous casting machines designed to produce polymer concrete and cultured marble. Fillers can be all types of aggregates with grain sizes up 0.75 in; binding agents are primarily unsaturated polyester resins. Machines are also available for epoxy, urethanes and MMA. Filler loading may be as much as 96%. Outputs range from 10 to 1000 lb/min.


Offers standard and custom-designed filament winders, including overhead- and rear-carriage types, which are programmed via IBM-compatible PC's. The winders use a PAC-5 programmable control from Automation Systems Inc. along with Retek's filament winding control software. Standard mandrel diameter capacities are 16 and 24 in. for overhead carriage machines and 16, 24, 36, and 48 in. for rear carriage machines. Custom-built creels are also supplied.


Offers the JX-AA-2QT polyester gelcoat system. The system, a lightweight airless/air-assisted gun with an 8:1 ratio pump, is suitable for tooling gelcoat and for multiple color changes, and comes in 2-qt or 2-gal sizes.

Also offers fiberglass spray-up systems and RTM and polyester putty machines.


Designs and builds four post-column guided hydraulic presses ranging from 100 to 3000 tons. High-speed compression molding presses for stampable reinforced thermoplastic sheet (GMT, Azdel, Azmet, Taffen, Elastopreg, etc.) and thermoset (SMC) materials are usually custom-designed to the customer's needs. Closing speeds of 1500 in./min and pressing speeds of 100 in./min can be provided to obtain cycle times well below 60 sec. Accumulator drives are available to reduce horsepower needs for composite molding. These high-precision presses can also be supplied with hydraulically controlled platen-leveling systems to maintain parallelism during the material flow phase, thus providing material savings by maintaining accurate part thickness. This feature is especially desirable where the center of gravity of the molded part is off-center to the press. Programmable computer control allows setting tonnage/velocity profiles through the complete cycle of the press plus retrieval of process data for future use. Additional equipment and features such as safety light screens, cushions and ejector plates, quick tool change clamps, and sliding tables are all available options.


Manufactures double-belt presses that convey various feed stocks (resins, reinforcements, binders, catalysts) through a controlled time-temperature pressure cycle to produce continuous sheet products (fiberglass-reinforced thermoplastic and thermoset laminates, composites, and foams). Rigid and flexible products can be produced up to 56 in. wide and of any length. Cure times are up to 10 min., cure temperatures can reach 500 F, and line speeds up to 90 ft/min are said to be obtainable. Auxiliary equipment includes loaders, cutting devices, take-up and let-off rolls.


Manufactures a line of low- to high-pressure meter, mix and dispense equipment for applying one- and two-part epoxies, urethanes, silicones or polyester materials. These range from an economical, air-powered bench-top unit, to Program-a-Bead III units that interface with robots.


Manufactures hydraulic presses and supplies complete plants (automatic layup, conveying, pressing, trimming, inspection and packaging lines) for high-pressure laminates, including decorative, industrial-grade, and copper-clad laminates for printed circuits.

Hydraulic presses, single- and multiple-opening types, are for molding glass-fiber reinforced plastics.


A complete line of autoclaves from compact lab models to large production units is available with instrumentation to control program temperature to 850 F, pressure to 800 psig, vacuum, etc. Hydraulically operated door with locking ring is standard, as is a remotely located instrument panel. The blower motor is mounted in a water-cooled, encapsulated "bubble" enclosure on the exterior wall of the autoclave, eliminating the need for shaft seals.


Offers turnkey autoclave installations for composite curing. Systems include company's TEC part vacuum transducers, which monitor part vacuum throughout the cure cycle.

Also available is the ACCS computer control system, which offers a cycle editor with more than 24 controllable parameters, including part heat rate, guaranteed soak, exotherm detection, pressure rate, vacuum levels and alarms, among other features.


Company's autoclave systems are designed to cure and bond fiberglass-reinforced plastics up to 1200 F and up to 2000 psi. Units use electric heaters and an inert-gas pressurizing medium. Vessels can be designed with patented door assemblies, hydraulically operated cylinders, fans, electric heaters, cooling-coil-type heat exchangers, internal insulation sheet, and internal track. Other components include pre-assembled and piped vacuum supply platforms for quick field installations, control panels for base control of temperature and pressure cure cycles, process variable recorders with graphic display and easy operator control, and vacuum monitoring and recording panels to ensure part quality.

Company's Mini-Bonder autoclave system is a laboratory-sized autoclave for full-scale R&D testing and limited production.


Offers Composite Processing Cell in which tape is precut for specific part geometries and stored in a cartridge in an Off-Line Tape Processor. Cartridge is then transferred to an overhead gantry-style tape layer or a "split-axis" rotary table. Software package defines course geometry from part definition input by operator or download from database. Off-Line Tape Processor may also supply tape to an existing tape machine for increased throughput. Company also offers an ultrasonic bed cutter, integrated with CPC-610 tape layer or as standalone system.


Specializes in engineered systems for polyester and fiberglass open-mold processes from individual machines to complete turnkey plants. Also offered are engineering services for factory design and development.

The patented H.I.S. (hydraulic injection system), uses internal, airless, low-pressure mixing in a complete line of RP systems, including:

* Hand spray-up units such as chopper guns, saturators, hydrajectors, and gel coaters. A variety of support equipment is available.

* Resin injection (RTM) units for low-pressure filling of closed molds.

* Casting units for open molds or cavity filling.

* Automated reciprocators for high-volume production of sheet and contoured shapes.

* Impregnators for wetting roving roll goods and laying onto large molds from cranes and gantries.

* Filament winders for production of large-diameter tanks and pipe, using chopper, filament winding and tapes.

* Corrugated panel machines.

* Abraders for performing smoothing operations on corrugated panels.

* Laminating rollers in a variety of materials and configurations with the "thin-fin" method.

* Cultured marble machines for mechanical production of polyester marble matrix.

* Resin concrete machines for mixing coarse aggregate with polyester resin.

* Solvent recovery system for distilling various solvents.

* EPO3 units designed to pump epoxies.

* Polyester foam units for reduced-fume spraying of polyester foam.

* Filled resin systems for mixing and dispensing filled resins.


Bench-type experimental filament winders have mandrels up to 12-in. diam and 48 in. long. Features include change gears for helical winding, variable-speed drive for circumferential winding, capability for NOL ring winding, preset counter and electronic speed control. Also offered are an NOL ring winder with controllable overlap and speed, and fixtures for NOL ring testing, available with console, including pump and recording manometer.

Company makes complete bench-type pultruders for test purposes, which can make 1/8-in. and 1/4-in. diam rod. Torsion test equipment to measure properties of rod for quality-control monitoring of resin, cure temperature, and reinforcement surface treatment is available. Also, heated die, infra-red, ultraviolet and microwave curing systems are provided as accessories to test cure methods.


See Littleford Bros., Inc.
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Title Annotation:1990-1991 Manufacturing Handbook and Buyers' Guide
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Jul 15, 1990
Previous Article:Injection molding systems suppliers' data sheets.
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