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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.


(Formerly Amplan, Inc.) Manufactures a wide range of manual and fully automatic meter, mix and 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.


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 a 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 a hybrid tow/tape placement machine. Also offered is a composite material cutting/kitting system in single- and multiple-module units for hybridized laminates.

* Specialty Equipment. Dedicated equipment to composite product specifications.


Offers custom-designed manual and fully robotic directed-fiber preform machines. Computer control can provide variable speed and direction of screen rotation, variable pressure drop, variable glass and binder delivery rates, and adjustable cure times and temperatures.


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 in medium-to-long production runs. Computer-controlled machines are built with up to six axes, extreme flexibility, and ability for rapid changeover from product to product. A low-cost, laboratory-scale, full-featured, three-axis, computer-controlled winder is also available.

Company also builds a variety of prepreg-tape production lines. A modular design allows the customer 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 prepreg-tape production lines.


A full-size range of prewired and pretested autoclaves for bonding and curing of composite materials is supplied. Breech-lock, quick-opening door design requires 60 seconds to open or close. Baron also provides a heavy-duty door hinge, internally mounted blower motor, and custom control panels. Computerized process control system is an option.


Manufactures a broad range of equipment for FRP applications. Environmentally conscious systems include internal- or external-mix, high-transfer-efficiency 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 catalyst feed systems can also be employed and, when combined with a selection of air-, hydraulic-, and electric-powered pumps, give the systems extreme flexibility for applying the most difficult materials.

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 is hand-poured from a bucket into the adjustable-width gap between the impregnating rolls. The second, more elaborate model can 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.


Manufactures a complete line of spray-up systems for reinforced polyester and gelcoat, as well as custom-made applications equipment.

Company features either true airless or air-assisted airless external-mix spraying systems. The lightweight gun is designed for simplicity and easy maintenance. All spray guns have two catalyst orifices, allowing for the use of undiluted catalyst. Systems are equipped with the C-400-N Catalizer, which is infinitely variable, totally linear in delivery, and with no lead or lag conditions to worry about.

Company's Basic Gelcoater gel coat system features a new gel coat pump with only three reciprocating parts that can support up to a 0.031-in. fluid tip orifice with no "winking" or "pulsing."

New from company: A modular gel-coat system that sprays up to 12 colors and is mounted on a 7-ft-long wheeled chassis, which is easily moved and eliminates costly in-house plumbing. Components include a G-755 air-assisted/airless gun and C-400N catalyzer. The external-mix gun requires no flushing after use. Supplied for each color is a model P-15 Pancake Series 15:1 pump with individual high-pressure filter, air controls, material pick-up assemblies, and quick-disconnect fluid hoses. A central silencer is said to eliminate pump exhaust noise. Each station is built as a closed loop with recirculating mode to prevent settling. The system uses shop air and can be modified to allow for spraying different colors at the same time with additional guns.


Furnishes the following equipment for reinforced plastics:

* Fiberglass roving cutters in a variety of sizes and lengths to cut fibers 1/8 to 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 prepreg machines for aerospace composites in 12-, 24-, 48-, and 60-in. wide webs and one-meter wide models for sporting goods and other commercial uses. Resin filming machines of all sizes for precision film weights are available. Total prepreg plant equipment includes resin mixing vessels, data recorders, heating and chilling equipment, resin milling, impact mills, prepreg plant layout assistance, and field service for all equipment.


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; and fast cycle times of 45-90 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. Unit 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; and SPC data collection and analysis of all parameters.


Supplies composite tape layers for thermosets and thermoplastics, and 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.

Acramatic 975C control system 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.

New Viper Fiber Placement System (FPS), previously designated FPX, is a seven-axis machine that reportedly can place fiber tows along paths not achievable by manual lay-up or automated tape-laying systems. Using a fiber-placement head on a robotic arm, the computer-controlled FPS heats the tows until they are tacky, and a compaction roller on a heavy-duty ram-type arm allows the machine to work on concave surfaces with a minimum of secondary debulking. It can lay up to 24 individual, 1/8-in.-wide tows, which it can cut and restart tows individually. This lets the machine lay up contoured ply shapes, follow serpentine ply paths, construct tapered shapes without material buildup, and create localized buildups if necessary.

The head of the thermoplastic tape layer 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|degrees~ to -45|degrees~ and of laying flat panels only, which can then be formed. Panels up to 5 x 20 ft are made on the company's lab machine and available on a contract basis.


Offers heavy-duty Cat-A-Puller takeoff, cutoff saw and pneumatic dump table for pultrusion. Equipment is capable of handling a part envelope up to a 0.5-ft high x 1-ft wide. Takeoff is designed for continuous pulling forces up to 10,000 lb. Traveling saw is available with abrasive or diamond blade in wet or dry cutting configurations. Controls include DC 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 meet OSHA standards.


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


Company's Model 10-C filament winder makes 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. Machines can be run by one operator.

Model 20 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. Digital control is optional.

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


Company specializes in directed fiber preforming and supplies preforming equipment for a wide range of sizes and production capabilities.


Manufactures equipment to make prepregs utilizing dry-powder application. Polymers are applied to reinforcing fibers such as carbon fiber and fiberglass. Company's process does away with solvents usually associated with the manufacture of prepregs. Process speeds are reportedly faster and use less energy, resulting in lower costs.


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 simplify evaluating, changing, and smoothing each axis.

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.


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 a 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 preform machines for low- and medium-volume applications such as RTM.


Company supplies a 100-ton press for RTM recently added to its line of composite presses. Upper and lower platens are said to be 30-35% thicker than conventional machines, giving added rigidity to improve accuracy and repeatability. Deflection is limited to 0.003 in./linear ft, the company says. The press has a 48-in. stroke with 72 in. of max. daylight. Pressing surface is 84 in. x 58 in. The machine weighs 57,500 lb and stands 182 in. high with a 96-in. x 64-in. footprint.


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 extremely compact. 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.

Gemini variable-ratio urethane/polyester hybrid spray system features internal-mix Rascal hybrid spray gun with chopper, transfer pumps, variable-ratio proportioning system, in-line heaters, heated hoses and portable cart with 12-ft boom. System was designed for new resins developed as an alternative to standard polyester laminates. The "Rascal" hybrid gun and chopper are also available to retrofit existing hybrid spray systems.

Company offers a new RTM system based on its Little Willie gun with a static-mixing extension, plus 5:1 air-motor pump and catalyst slave system. The system mounts on a 5-gal pail or on a wall for use with drums or Liqui-Bins. The system also can be used with saturator or resin-roller attachments.


Represents Dieffenbacher of Germany, which builds custom parallelism-controlled SMC and thermoplastic high-speed presses and also engineers and installs complete automated molding systems, which can include sheet blanking from rollstock, stacking of charges on a weigh table, air removal from charge stacks, oven preheating for thermoplastics, loading charges into the mold, and removal of molded parts. One automated system can service two presses. (Dieffenbacher absorbed the former Hoesch MFD in 1991.)


Manufactures spray-up equipment for processing fiber-reinforced plastic. The line includes internal- and external-mix spray systems for gelcoat, 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 slave pump, 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.

Also offered is a "Soft Spray Applicator" (SSA), a "sprinkler-type" coarse atomization nozzle.

Company also supplies RTM dispensing equipment, the newest version of which is its LPI (Low-Pressure Injection) system with a 4:1 pump, standard slave-pump catalyst proportioner, and a capacity of 2.5 gal/min. A new gun design has a simple one-button on/off control, cleanout ports on both catalyst and resin sides, and a pump-stroke counter and reset switch. A first for Glas-Craft on this system is low-pressure recirculation of both catalyst and resin, designed to keep fillers in suspension. There's also both solvent and air flushing, and a transparent window to permit observing material in the static-mixing nozzle.


Plural-component equipment systems are supplied for metering, mixing, spraying or casting urethane, epoxy, polysulfide or filled polyester casting compounds. Systems employ 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 division specializes in supplying and installing turnkey systems for a variety of plural-component applications, including sealants, foams, adhesives and coatings.


Company recommends its variable-ratio DeltaRim models of impingement-mixing RIM machinery for RTM and SRIM dispensing. Ranging from 40 to 240 lb/min capacity, these have a double-acting Continuous Delivery Cylinder (CDC) pump system to provide uniform flow and unlimited shot sizes.


Offers high-pressure plural-component metering/dispensing machines for SRIM and RTM. Large SRIM and RTM presses are also available. For more details see Urethane Processing Systems.


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 lay-up--is available from Italian companies. Contact this office for information.


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 preforming. Basically, the process applies binder resin to precut mats, reacts the binder with no heating of the reinforcement or mold, molds the preform, and attaches structural components such as ribs or cores. It uses a "directed-energy" technique of curing the preform binder with either microwave or uv energy. The curing energy is applied right in the forming tool, which has a plastic skin that is transparent to both forms of energy. 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 sec).


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 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.


Company offers plural-component metering/dispensing systems, mold-carriers, and clamps for SRIM and RTM. (See Urethane Processing Systems.)


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 paste.

Also offered is a sophisticated, computer-controlled model with dual piston-type lance cylinders driven by electric servomotors, aimed at applications requiring highly uniform, pulsation-free mold filling. Remote monitoring and quality documentation are possible.


Supplies SMC and BMC mixing components and complete compound production systems through association with RP/C Corp.


Designs and builds prepreg 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 DC 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 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 0.1% increments. Putty and catalyst are then mixed and dispensed through a mixing block and chamber. Company sources say unit is designed to help reduce waste and labor in application of marine putty.

Company has introduced 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 gelcoat 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.


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.


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 requirements 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 in-house repairs, programming and maintenance training, preventive maintenance agreements and turnkey installations. Ancillary filament winding equipment offered includes tensioners, creels and resin baths.


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


See Binks Mfg. Co.


Manufactures filament winders with speeds up to 1000 ft/min (325 m/min) and tension levels of 10-50 g. Traverse pitch controls can be digital with 0.0003 in. (10-micron) accuracy of resolution or analog controls with 0.001-in. (30-micron) resolution. Package sizes can be as large as 24 in. O.D. and up to 20 in. wide. Digital models such as the S100FO produce packages up to 14 in. O.D. and either 12 in. or 20 in. wide. Analog models such as the S150CA produce packages up to 12 in. O.D. and 12 in. wide. All machines can be used directly in production lines or as a breakdown process from master rolls.


Designs and builds pultrusion machines with 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 fast 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; an 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 prepreg 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, aids wetting, and eliminates "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 |+ or -~2 1/2|degrees~ 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.

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--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-D 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.

* Hot-air impingement 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.

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.


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 Hypaject and Megaject II resin injection systems designed to inject/dispense a variety of thermosetting resins under pressure to manufacture reinforced or unreinforced moldings. Materials include unsaturated polyester, vinyl ester, epoxy, phenolic, methyl methacrylate, etc. Models are available in capacities from 0.8 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 standard and custom-designed filament winders, including overhead-and rear-carriage types, which are programmed via IBM-compatible PCs. 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 gel coat system. The system, a lightweight airless/air-assisted gun with an 8:1 ratio pump, is suitable for tooling gel coat 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.


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. RTM is a major application for these systems.


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 plural-component metering/dispensing machines for RTM. For more details see Urethane Processing Systems.


Offers Composite Processing Cell in which prepreg tape is precut for specific part geometries and stored in a cartridge in an Off-Line Tape Processor. Cartridges provide a supply means for a low-profile, 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. These include both lower-cost versions based on the company's H.I.S. pumping system, and a hydraulic lance-cylinder "Ram" system for epoxy advanced composites. The latter is designed for applications requiring highly uniform, controlled fill rates and pressure. It can be controlled and monitored by a remote computer.

A PC-based RTM process and production monitor has been developed specifically for automotive. The system can calculate ratio and feed rate of each component by means of mass-flow meters. It also monitors pressure at the mold inlet and temperature sensors on tanks and hoses, and will actuate alarms if any variable runs out of tolerance. It continuously displays the percentage of mold fill and shuts off the gun at 100% fill. Also shown on the screen are total amount of resin dispensed vs. the preset shot size. The computer detects when peak exotherm has occurred and can turn on a light at the mold to signal that it is ready to be opened. It also stores complete setup data for up to four molds and 39 material recipes (storage capacity is expandable). The system also comes with a separate data interface box for the pumping equipment, which has its own four-line LCD display.

Company offers a separate version specifically for aerospace RTM, which monitors all critical temperatures, pressures, flow rates, and relative viscosity. All variables can be charted for trend analysis.

* 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.

* Composite specimen preparation system for producing specimens in a wide range of sizes for a variety of testing procedures.


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, infrared, ultraviolet and microwave curing systems are provided as accessories to test cure methods.
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Publication:Plastics Technology
Article Type:Buyers Guide
Date:Jul 15, 1992
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