Mouldlife Ltd are proud to announce a new agreement with 3M™ to act as an official distribution partner for it’s comprehensive range of products.
Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies, creating innovative products that help make the world healthier, safer and more productive. Well known 3M brands include Scotch™, Post-it™, Scotchgard™, Thinsulate™ and Scotch-Brite™.
Products manufactured in the UK include coated abrasives, occupational health and environmental safety equipment, adhesive tapes, industrial microbiology products, drug delivery systems, high-performance coatings, secure documents and passport scanners.
Revolutionary Clean Wet-Filament Winding New Technology Developed
by UK Consortium Being Showcased at JEC Europe 2013, Paris
A collaborative R&D project between The University of Birmingham’s School of Metallurgy and Materials and a UK consortium of companies has successfully developed a new environmentally friendly ‘clean’ filament winding technology for the production of high-performance composites.
This revolutionary wet-filament winding technology offers a clean and efficient method of production. Unique design components in this new wet-filament winding technology include a custom-built modular fibre bundle spreading station and a mixed resin fibre impregnation unit, which together provide effective fibre wetting. Waste and solvent usage is also significantly reduced compared with traditional wet bath filament winding production; up to 80% less cleaning solvent consumption has been achieved, along with an equivalent reduction of mixed resin waste. A variety of thermosets, including faster curing resins, have been successfully trialled with this new clean filament winding technology, which can be retrofitted and adapted for other manufacturing processes, such as pre-pregging and pultrusion.
This new technology is being showcased at the JEC Europe 2013 exhibition in Paris by the UK consortium on the Pultrex stand (U39). Representative from Mouldlife Ltd. will be on the stand during the show for commercial discussions with companies interested in acquiring this new technology, which is being offered globally under licencing agreements.
Next generation technology
The traditional bath-based impregnation method, which has been the predominant filament winding technique used for thermosetting resins by the composites industry over the last 50 years, has until now remained largely unchanged. This new, environmentally friendly, clean production technology, with improved productivity and significantly less waste, offers a next generation alternative technology for manufacturers, which can be retro-fitted to existing filament winding machines.
With this new ‘clean’ wet-filament winding process the conventional wet resin bath is replaced by the modular mixed resin fibre impregnation unit, typically mounted on the traverse-arm of the filament winding machine, close to the mandrel. The thermoset resin and hardener are contained in separate reservoirs, metered electronically and delivered on-demand by two precision gear-pumps via a custom-made manifold into the static mixer, which is connected to the mixed resin fibre impregnation unit. The system is able to apply a very precise volume of mixed resin to impregnate the fibre bundle, so minimising over-impregnation; the precision pumps fitted in the fully operational prototype are capable of delivering 10–110 g.min-1 of resin and hardener and handling liquids with viscosities of 20–10,000 mPa.s. A feedback control system between the rotating mandrel and the resin dispensing unit is used to control the relative throughput of the resin and hardener. The resin dispensing unit was manufactured by CTM Ltd., which is also part of the UK consortium. A schematic illustration of the Clean Technology filament winding concept
The other important component in this clean wet-filament winding technology is the fibre bundle spreading station; the controlled spreading out of the fibres prior to resin impregnation increases the width of the tow and at the same time reduce its nominal thickness. This has the positive effect of efficiently increasing the impregnation of the mixed resin system into the fibres prior to being wound onto the mandrel. A schematic diagram of the complete process is shown in figure 2.
Productivity and cost benefits
For manufacturers, there are several major productivity advantages over a conventional wet resin bath in using this new filament winding technology with its metered static mixer and resin impregnation head. The custom built metering system automatically draws the resin and hardener in the required stoichiometric ratio as needed from the individual bulk reservoirs. This eliminates the need to do any pre-weighing and manual mixing of the resin and hardener, with the subsequent benefits of no longer needing to use any disposable consumables, such as containers, stirrers and paper and, more importantly, avoiding the problem of air entrapment, a real issue with manual mixing. The other key productivity and cost saving gain of this new automated clean technology system is that the process can be truly ‘continuous’ and not limited by the mixed resin volumetric capacity of a wet bath, which must be replenished manually; the resin and hardener reservoirs can be replenished during production with no interruption to the line.
Less cleaning and waste
This significantly cleaner wet-filament winding process, which has achieved up to an 80% reduction in cleaning solvent consumption along with an equivalent reduction of mixed resin waste, is due to two key factors. Firstly, with no resin bath, the need to thoroughly clean the equipment at the end of each production run is eliminated; depending on the dimensions of the resin bath, the cleaning operation consumes several litres of solvent plus the associated consumables, which all have to be disposed of along with the waste mixed resin; the need to take exotherming precautions with waste mixed resin is also eliminated. Secondly, the unit has been designed such that final roller of the resin applicator is positioned above the mandrel. Therefore, unlike a conventional wet-filament winding process, with this configuration the problem of resin dripping from the impregnated tows on to the floor is eliminated.
UK consortium members
The UK Consortium members of this collaborative project are: The University of Birmingham; Mouldlife Ltd; Pultrex Ltd; CTM Ltd.; Halyard Marine Ltd.; Luxfer Gas Cylinders Ltd., PPG Industries Ltd., and Bruker Ltd. The project started in 2010 with backing from the UK’s innovation agency, The Technology Strategy Board, a Government funded body which helps companies develop and commercialise new manufacturing innovations
Global licencing opportunities
Mouldlife at iMATS - Stand 203
Come see Mouldlife in action at the most exciting tradeshows throughout the country, to see hands on demonstrations and workshops led by Mouldlife’s professional team. We will also have a fast range of special FX materials and make-up to buy from the stand!
Prepare to be amazed by Millennium FX Neil Gorton’s spectacular live demonstration to celebrate his 10th Anniversary. He will be accompanied by many of his amazing creations.
Mouldlife are also excited to hear Award winner Joel Harlow, (Alice In Wonderland) and Jonah Levy (Green Lantern, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I Am Number 4, Zombieland and The Crazies) will be attending this year’s iMATS.
Rumor has is…
Kazu and his Lincoln Head is coming to iMATS… Keep your eyes peeled!
Check out the bake off video of "Hitchcock" where Academy award winner Howard Berger talks about how he re-created Alfred Hitchock using Mouldlife's Platsil Gel 10, Deadener, Mouldlife Silicone Pigments, Super Baldiez, bonded with Snappy G and painted with Bluebird Fx Inks.
"Hitchcock" just made the shortlist of seven semi-finalists for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the Oscars.
Howard uses Mouldlife products for most of his projects, he is best known for his work in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Walking Dead, Kill Bill, Breaking Bad and Inglourius Bastards.