JEC Group have brought together the international community of composites leaders and executives in our Composites Circle as an unique networking opportunity to meet with both peers and future partners.
The company has recently installed the largest long fiber injection (LFI) press in the world at its facility near Detroit, with the capability to produce very large parts measuring up to a record-breaking 121 square feet.
The new press and LFI line was recently unveiled during an event at Romeo RIM’s facility, located north of Detroit - as unveiled on May 26, 2011. The new machine is a 400 ton, 12’ x 12’ double shuttle press. As a fully automated system, it will ensure the consistency in production of all components. It is also noteworthy that it is the only piece of equipment in North America that will robotically in-mold paint parts.
“Romeo RIM sees this as an opportunity to help our customers take their products to the next level by capitalizing on the many advantages of creating parts with the LFI process,” said Paul Condeelis, vice president of Business Development, Romeo RIM Inc.
Condeelis explains that for nearly 30 years, Romeo RIM has provided customers with the latest, cutting-edge technologies and services to meet their production needs. For example, Romeo RIM was the first company in North America to install an LFI random injection molding (RIM) system for serial production. This forward-thinking, customer-centric mindset continues to drive the business today.
“By installing this line, we are able to give our customers a real competitive edge – the ability to produce very large parts that are strong, light and also cost-effective,” said Condeelis.
The design and installation of the press was a collaborative effort of Romeo RIM, materials supplier Bayer MaterialScience LLC and equipment maker KraussMaffei.
To ensure the new LFI production line met the design requirements and operating parameters set forth by Romeo RIM, representatives from Bayer MaterialScience LLC and KraussMaffei met frequently with the molder during the development phase.
KraussMaffei, inventor of the LFI process, designed and manufactured the press, and served as general contractor for the project. JP Mead, vice president, KraussMaffei, elaborated on the successful collaboration of the group members: “The design input from Romeo RIM and process participation from Bayer MaterialScience were invaluable to this project,” said Mead.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC, which has a long-standing working relationship with Romeo RIM, applied its expertise in polyurethane chemistry to the project, according to Harry George, polyurethanes expert, Bayer MaterialScience LLC. “Leveraging our deep technical know-how, we fine-tuned reaction times to help create the best parts possible using this large press.”
LFI is a proven process for producing large, strong and lightweight parts. LFI offers unique benefits, such as:
During the LFI process, long glass fibers are injected along with polyurethane resin in a one-step process. A fiberglass chopper is attached to the polyurethane dispensing mixhead, which is attached to a robot. The robot is programmed to move over the open mold cavity while simultaneously dispensing both the long glass fibers and the polyurethane resin in an open-pour method. At the end of the pour, the mold is closed, and the part is formed.
A sprayable in-mold coating results in a painted, Class-A surface right out of the mold. Large, Class-A-surface LFI parts that can be produced with the new press are well suited for a number of markets, including agricultural, building and construction, mass transit and heavy trucks, among others.
“Customers that typically were forced to use steel, sheet-molding compound (SMC) and aluminum now have a cost-effective and lighter alternative to parts made from these traditional materials,” said Condeelis. “We’re excited to be able to offer our customers this industry-first capability.”
About Romeo RIM
Founded in 1982, Romeo RIM is one of the leading processors of reaction injection molding (RIM) technology in North America. The company’s initial product technology is known as the HELP® (High Energy Level Polymer) energy absorbing bumper system built for buses in the Unites States and Canadian transit markets. Since then, Romeo RIM has expanded their RIM technology capabilities and commitment to the commercialization of innovative composite technologies as demonstrated by their early adoption of in-mold coatings, dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) and LFI technology. The main markets serviced include the mass transit, agricultural, construction, heavy truck, automotive, and leisure industries. Romeo RIM is dedicated to a continued emphasis on the development of innovative product offerings and processes that provide technically advanced, engineered solutions which strengthen, protect and enhance the appearance and performance of our customer’s products.