NEW HIGH TECNOLOGY! Kalle Heiska science journalist
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5 Oct 2000

Many advantages of closed lamination

In closed mold laminating method the resin impregnation can be done using a suitable semiflexible upper mold.
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The closed method of manufacturing reinforced plastic products will soon give SMEs big advantages compared with existing open laminating methods: lower emissions, safe working conditions, and reduced air handling costs. In the closed method solvent emissions of the resin binder are significantly reduced because the resin is absorbed under negative pressure into the reinforcing fibres and the curing takes place in a closed space.

Less resin is needed in the closed method, the manufacturing process is cleaner, and the job will become more attractive to the industry's workers. The present method of manual laminating and resin transfer moulding will require better air handling in the future because the permitted level of emissions will be lowered and laminating emissions to outside air will be prohibited entirely.

Reinforced plastic is used especially in the manufacture of boats, body shells, sporting goods, body armour, process industry containers and pipes. The closed method of manufacturing reinforced plastic is especially suitable for small and medium-sized series production.

The challenge for the future is to develop a method by which reinforced plastic products can be made safely and moreprofitably than by the present method of open lamination, while retaining their hard surface layer and the use of colouring agents. Fire-proof polyester resin suitable for the underpressure technique will also be needed.

Jyrki Siikonen

The new laminating method has been developed by VTT Chemical Technology The Laboratory of Lightweight Structures at Helsinki University of Technology, Ahlström Glassfibre Oy, FY-Industries Oy Composites, Neste Chemicals Oy, Nautor Oy and Profile Component Oy. The work was financed by the National Technology Agency, Tekes.

Further information:
VTT Chemical Technology, Jyrki Siikonen, tel. +358 3316 3522 or +358 40 746 7602.

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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