Oak Ridge, Tenn. — Roctool SA, the French developer of mold heating and cooling technology, has installed a large double-zone generator and its latest performance cooling unit at the Department of Energy's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The equipment will be used for early-stage composites compression research and development in the automotive, aerospace, aircraft, energy-related and consumer goods markets.
"The installation at ORNL will afford leading OEMs better access to Roctool technology, enabling them to test and evaluate the benefits for composite molding programs," said Steve Verschaeve, Roctool's vice president of North American business development.
Roctool is based in Le Bourget du Lac, France. Roctool North America is in Charlotte, N.C.
Along with the installation of equipment, Roctool has developed a preliminary mold for compression molding programs. The highly detailed mold, to be installed later this year, incorporates numerous design features for a variety of composite products. A new mold also is under construction for more advanced manufacturing trials.
The Roctool equipment is available to industrial partners working with ORNL and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), for processing new composites such as commingled and non-woven; renewable composites such as bio-fibers and self-reinforced PP; and high-performance composites like high-temperature materials for aerospace.
The research is supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office.
IACMI is managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corp. (CCS), a not-for-profit organization established by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.