Meridian's DePalma says the "string binder" technology eliminates problems encountered previously in SRIM preforming with aqueous emulsion binders that were messy to handle and gave less uniform results.
The total process of preforming and molding the truck box produces a finished part every 3 min.
After at least five years of development, Owens Corning has sold its first P-4 automated preforming
system to the Automotive Composites Consortium, Troy, Mich.
The mold carrier system is a low-pressure press with a sliding table and preforming
Large SRIM and RTM clamps and preforming equipment.
CompForm automated preforming process for RTM and SRIM applies binder resin to precut mats, reacts binder without heating the reinforcement or mold, molds the preform, and attaches structural components such as ribs or cores.
Average cycle time range for processing RTM body panels at Aero Detroit (not including the preforming
cycle) is 14-17 min, which includes the time to open the clamp, manually insert the preform, close the clamp, inject resin, hold and cure, open the clamp, manually remove the part, loosen and remove flash with compressed-air guns, and place the part in a cooling fixture.
The Automotive Composites Consortium (ACC), the cooperative technology group formed four years ago by the Big Three automotive builders of Detroit, this quarter will demonstrate prototype production of directed-fiber preforms for structural RIM (SRIM), utilizing a novel, proprietary method that automates the glass preforming process.
In addition to its SRIM preform work, the ACC (based in Troy, Mich.) continues working on automated preforming for front-end vehicle rails produced by the resin transfer molding (RTM) process.
It consists of a robotized directed-fiber preforming
system (using a powder binder) and a resin injection system, with automatic preform transfer between the two systems.