We have many years´ experience with production of laminate parts, mainly laminate parts which are used in the manufacturing of headlamps. These parts are exposed to demanding chemical and mechanical conditions. That leads us to continuous improvement of current manufacturing technologies and searching for new ones. The choice of manufacturing process and materials depends on several factors, such as batch size, product shape and size, required material characteristics and surface quality.
The process starts with mold manufacturing for which we use 3D machining. In case the 3D data is not available, we use your physical model. When the mold is manufactured and production technology chosen, we can proceed to the production of laminate parts.
For reinforcement, we use materials including glass, carbon or aramid fibre or their combination. Epoxy resin is usually used as a bonding agent.
This is the oldest and most often used method to make laminates. First of all, a layer of gelcoat or colorful coat of paint is applied to the cleaned and impregnated mold. When the gelcoat or coat of paint becomes partially hard, individual layers of reinforcement are manually placed into the mold. This reinforcement is then saturated with resin using a brush or a roller. To achieve the best mechanical and chemical properties of the material, the laminate is reinforced in a drying oven which also speeds up the production process. The technology of manual lamination is suitable both for small and big parts, not only for simple but also for complicated shapes. The advantage of this technology is the low initial investment in manufacturing facilities. Uneven saturation of reinforcement with the bonding agent might be a disadvantage.
Pre-preg is a reinforcement pre-impregnated with partially hardened resins. Using this technology, layers of prepregs are placed into the mold and then they are vacuum-bagged in the manufacturing mold. After that there is the reinforcement process in the drying oven. The main advantage of prepregs is the high share of reinforcement. Therefore we get a product with excellent mechanical properties.
To increase the content of reinforcement, we might employ vacuum pressing procedure. Excess resin is removed which improves mechanical properties of the product. Saturated reinforcement is applied into the mold like in the case of manual lamination or prepreg technology. On the last layer of reinforcement we apply a separation foil and a mat which absorbs all excess resin and air bubbles. In the end a vacuum bag is hermetically sealed to the perimeter of the mold. The process of vacuum pressing takes place in a curing oven where the exact temperature must be maintained.
Individual layers of reinforcement, which are not saturated with the bonding agent yet, are placed into the lower part of the mold. The first option is to place the flexible upper part, which regulates the pressure, onto the bottom of the mold. The other option is to apply a vacuum bag which is hermetically sealed to the perimeter of the mold. In both cases, the bonding agent is then distributed into the mold and thus the reinforcement is saturated.
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