OAKWOOD VILLAGE, OHIO - Joseph Sumerak, president of the Oakwood Village consulting firm Pultrusion Dynamics Inc., has developed a way to continuously pultrude shapes with variable cross-section geometry. Sumerak has dubbed the process ``selective interval pulshaping.'' He claims the invention could open up new markets for the pultrusion process, which draws fibers through a resin bath and a die. With traditional pultrusion, profiles are limited to a single shape. One specialized type of pultrusion, called pulforming, can achieve varying shapes but usually is limited to shorter lengths, Sumerak said.
But Sumerak said his breakthrough, which manipulates the cure through the die and process parameters, such as temperature and speed, can make very long, continuous shapes with variable cross-sections at any point. Some possible examples include:
A strip or trough with a molded-in offset or lap joint. This would allow lengths to be joined end-to-end, similar to how a belled end works on pipe lengths.
An offset flange on a vertical beam that would support a horizontal beam placed into the notch.
A pultruded tube that changes shape along its length. A round tube could be tapered down to a square, for example, to fit tightly into a hole in another part.
Any of the shapes also can incorporate surface features, such as dimples.
He used a $50,000 National Science Foundation grant to prove the idea is feasible. He plans to apply for a second grant.
``What I'm seeking ultimately to do is license the technology,'' said Sumerak, who is looking for licensees and investors.
Sumerak was co-founder of Pultrusion Technology Inc., a machinery company in Twinsburg, Ohio.
A patent for selective interval pulshaping is pending.