French molding technology developer RocTool SAS has launched a new plant with two pilot lines dedicated to testing its Cage System high-speed composite molding technique.
The laboratory in Le Bourget-du-Lac, France, is equipped with one large pilot line capable of producing components sized up to 12.9 square feet and a smaller one for parts measuring 1.64 square feet.
The process is designed for high-volume molding of sheet. The Cage System is a patented technology that heats the tool surface via electric current. The mold is then cooled rapidly with water cooling lines, located close to the tool surface.
The process achieves a very fast cycle time thanks to the induction, which heats only the tool surface, according to RocTool, headquartered in Le Bourget-du-Lac.
The technology already has been employed successfully to produce a thermoplastic car hood measuring around 12.9 square feet in just 4 minutes, RocTool said.
The French firm already is working to develop different applications for its technology with major European, U.S. and Japanese groups, including German injection press supplier Krauss-Maffei GmbH, Azdel Inc. of Lynchburg, Va., and plastics molder and recycler Royal Lankhorst Euronete Group BV of Sneek, the Netherlands.
Last year, RocTool announced that, together with Krauss-Maffei, it was adapting a new process combination that should reduce cycle time and increase surface quality for long-fiber injection molded parts.
The Krauss-Maffei patented LFI process was developed to make part from glass-fiber-reinforced polyurethane.
This year, RocTool has been testing Cage with various molding processes used in the composites manufacturing sector.
``For the last three months, we have made several prototype molded parts of different sizes and shapes, as well as of different materials including glass, carbon, thermosets and thermoplastics,'' said business development manager Matt Boulanger.