Gusmer Corp. of Lakewood, N.J., best known as a supplier of polyurethane machinery, has teamed up with Compcast Technologies LLC of Bernegat Light, N.J., to create a machine that actually polymerizes nylon 6 parts and casts them into fiber-reinforced parts, all in a single operation.
The new technology is called Compcasting. Gusmer is billing the process as a much less-expensive and faster alternative to injection molding, to do rapid prototyping and make production parts in quantities up to 1 million or 2 million. Fiber-reinforced nylon is used widely in the automotive industry for parts such as intake manifolds, valve covers, water pumps, radiator fins and fan shrouds.
Compcast Technologies owns the technology and licenses it to manufacturing companies. Gusmer builds the equipment.
Compcasting uses rapid tooling, instead of machining injection molds, dramatically cutting costs, the companies said. The data goes directly from a computer-aided-design file to a fiber-reinforced nylon 6 structural production part in just one or two days.
Here's how it works: A pattern is made using stereolithography, with materials traditionally used for cast urethane parts. Lost-core technologies also can be used. Next, a Gusmer RP-10 dispensing machine mixes caprolactam, a monomer used to make nylon 6, with an activating agent. The resulting slurry is heated to 284°-302° F, then the glass-fiber reinforcement is mixed in via the machine's agitator.
The catalyst is dispensed from a separately heated tank, then automatically injected in the right proportion into the stream of fiber-reinforced caprolactam just before it enters the mold. As the materials are dispensed, the mixture thickens to a denser slurry. The Gusmer RP-10 machine dispenses the nylon directly into a mold that has been preheated to the same temperature as the material.
The resin polymerizes into a structural part within seconds.
Contact Gusmer at tel. (732) 901-2752, fax (723) 905-8968, e-mail [email protected]