Rucks Maschinenbau GmbH, a machinery manufacturer in Glauchau, Germany, said its new interval heating process technology offers a solution to economically producing fiber-reinforced plastics sheets for the automotive sector.
The machine is located at the Textile Research Institute in Chemnitz, Germany, can process glass fiber, carbon fiber, aramid fiber and natural fibers, as well as a variety of resins.
Rucks also has supplied seven continuous compression molding systems over the last several years and is now making two more.
A feed table assures the layers are correctly aligned. Before the forming, the material gets heated in a pre-press stage and pre-compressed. That makes it possible to also process awkwardly-shaped non-woven fabric.
The material gets pulled semi-continuously through the press, together with the separating sheets by the feeder arranged behind the press—reaching theoretical speeds of nearly 8 inches per second. Depending on the number and thickness of the layers, up to 5.5 feet per minute, according to Rucks.
The core of the machine is the heating-cooling press with a press capacity of 200 metric tons, fitted with a synchronized hydraulic system that has four press cylinders with power and location control. The heating plates have six individual, thermally separated heating zones over a length of 4 feet—so material-specific heating and cooling curves can be run.
A thickness measuring device uses a laser sensor to determine the precise thickness of the pressed semi-finished product at four measuring points.
The final station cuts the sheet into defined sizes, or the sheet can be run with winders on a roll.
All the stations are interconnected so they work together.
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