Composites distributor Composites One LLC has teamed with three other firms to create the Closed Mold Alliance an effort designed to promote and teach closed-mold processes.
In addition to Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Composites One, the Closed Mold Alliance includes:
* Meter/mix equipment maker Magnum Venus Plastech of Clearwater, Fla.
* Resin transfer molding tooling firm RTM North Ltd. of Vanastra, Ontario.
* RTM tooling maker FormaShape of Kelowna, British Columbia.
CMA will focus on three types of closed-mold processes: light RTM, closed-cavity bag molding and vacuum infusion. These processes can be used to make parts ranging from boat hulls and decks to truck hoods, according to Composites One marketing manager Marcy Offner.
Closed-mold work can be more economical by using less labor and producing more parts in a shorter time, Offner said in an Oct. 21 telephone interview. The company claims the process is more environmentally friendly than open molding because of the lack of volatile organic compounds or styrene emissions. As a result, workers doing closed-mold work don't need to wear respirators or dust masks, which also means cost savings, Offner added.
Initially, CMA will offer closed-mold education and expert consultation to manufacturers. Customized tooling then can be engineered and produced for use with project-specific materials and equipment.
A series of closed-mold educational programs is being developed into Closed Mold University. The American Composites Manufacturers Association also is developing a closed-mold certification program.
``By creating the alliance, we can offer composites manufacturers the complete package of training, tooling materials and equipment to meet the needs created by technological developments and environmental concerns,'' Composites One President and Chief Operating Officer Leon Garoufalis said in a news release.
Composites One is a 50-50 joint venture between Great Lakes Synergy Corp., an Arlington Heights-based shipping firm, and Cook Composites and Polymers Co. of Kansas City, Mo. FormaShape is a division of Whitewater Composites Ltd., a maker of composites and polyurethanes based in Kelowna.