A new way to make short-run thermoplastic composite parts cuts production costs, according to its inventor, the Diaphorm Division of Solectria Inc.
“Our process fills the gap between hand layup and compression molding,” said Bob Miller, general manager of the Diaphorm Division. “It's ideal for structural composites in lot sizes between 1,000 and 100,000.”
The company in Woburn, Mass., said the Pressure Diaphorm process can make parts that cost 20-70 percent less than compression molded parts. It works like compression molding, but needs machinery and molds that are much less expensive. It uses a single-sided mold, an oven to melt the resin and a rubber diaphragm to form the material to the shape of the mold.
Depending in production volumes, the mold can be made of wood, composite or aluminum — costing one quarter the price of traditional tooling for compression molding, Solectria said.
Pressure Diaphorm can mold parts in polypropylene, urethane and some nylons using common continuous reinforcing fibers such as glass, carbon and aramid.
The company is already supplying prototype quantities of motorcycle helmets, industrial caps and structural beams for kayaks.
Tel. (781) 932-9009, fax (781) 932-8055, e-mail [email protected]