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Frimo presents innovations in plastics joining, thermoforming and PU processing

News International-French

6 Nov 2014

The group presented its latest developments around plastics joining, thermoforming, and PU processing technologies as part of the Fakuma trade fair show.

Plastics joining – IR welding machine with new camera control system
Frimo has added two new design sizes to its portfolio of standardized infrared welding systems in the JoinLine IR welding machine series. In addition to the IR-V-ECO-1200 with a maximum clamping area of 1200 x 600 mm, they presented the JoinLine IR-V-ECO-800 (800 x 450 mm). The two models, each with up to 24 heating circuits, fill the gap between the models 500 and 1600 that have been available until now.

The JoinLine IR systems are specially designed for frequent and thus extra speedy tool changes. A tool change can take less than five minutes, during which it is not necessary to cool off or preheat the tool. A high-performance drive system allows for increased productivity with view to the critical phase of changeover time and joining after heating and at the same time guarantees a high level of joining precision.

The JoinLine IR-V-ECO-800 can be equipped with an innovative thermal imaging system for inline process monitoring and consistent documentation of welding parameters. Compared to conventional products this newly presented infrared camera system is smaller and also stands out from the rest through its high level of user-friendliness and measuring precision. By monitoring the necessary temperature distribution during the welding process, a consistently high level of welding quality and process reliability can be achieved.

Thermoforming - High-class surfaces in foil
The high quality look of surfaces plays an important role in the design of modern automotive interiors. The trend towards an ever increasing variety of different designs and materials in numerous combinations necessitates that suitable modifications and advances are made to processing technologies. For producing decorative surfaces, foils possess diverse properties that make them attractive and economical.

  • Optimized processes for complex 3D geometries: Thermoformed parts with demanding three-dimensional contours are especially prone to high degrees of stretching and marked grain distortion. In order to avoid this, FRIMO has developed a number of intelligent process solutions. One of these is the bendable chain rail which is an innovative solution for producing contoured molded parts in high-speed inline plants. The foil (rolled material) is heated and then the chain rail is bent to ensure that the foil is directed to the mold cavity in the forming station that precisely follows the contours. This does not stretch the foil as much, which has a correspondingly positive effect on the level of stretching and grain distortion. In order to combat the sagging of the preheated foil sheet, the company uses process optimized chain rails that stretch the foils crosswise as well as lengthwise. This puts more tension on the foil while simultaneously reducing the risk of wrinkling. When laminating components with complex 3D geometry with precut foil pieces, the use of a 3D sliding clamp frame can offset excessive stretching and grain distortion by perfectly combining sliding adjustment and preforming of the foil.
  • Weight reduction: On the market for decorative foils, a series of innovations for thermoforming and vacuum laminating are available, which in combination with the FRIMO systems technology, help reduce weight. The new PGF foil from Benecke-Kaliko, for example, is a partially foamed compact foil that allows for reduced weight while also giving an improved surface feel and the ability to achieve tighter radii.
  • The Advanced Cooling System (FACS) will blow off the component after it has been laminated with cooled air traveling at a high speed. Depending on the composition of the decorative foils and adhesive system, this can either reduce the cooling time or drop the demolding temperature by up to 10° C. The latter may be essential in order to make sure that full adhesion is achieved. The FACS can also be installed on existing systems.

In order to minimize foil consumption, the company has developed foil cut optimization, which allows the foil separating cut executed when changing rolls or colors to be set in such a way that the resulting foil waste is minimized and no unusable components are produced. Foil edges are manually cut and automatically welded together using an ultrasonic device. An intelligent machine controller records the number of strokes as well as the feed length and is thus able to determine the optimal positioning for the foil joining line immediately before or after the clamping frame.

Lightweight Construction for mass production with HP RTM
High pressure resin transfer molding (HP RTM) is increasing in importance for serial production of structural components made of fiber composite plastics. On the HP RTM dosing unit from FRIMO (EPOx Mix and PURe Mix), epoxy resins as well as polyurethane can be processed in combination with endless-filament reinforcement to form high-performance fiber composite components. The Institute for Lightweight Construction and Plastics Technology (ILK) at the TU Dresden has just recently commissioned two high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP RTM) dosing units from Frimo in order to expand its development and service offerings. One of the machines is equipped for an output range of 33 to 166 g/s with epoxide matrix material and the second machine for a range from 10 to 65 g/s with polyurethane matrix material. 

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