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Development of a hybrid injection moulding process for sme moulders to produced glass / polymer composite parts, at high volume

Objective



Rubber is one of the basic materials used in the manufacture of soles and sole components for footwear (soles, top-pieces, heels, socks, etc.). The many possibilities which the material offers with regard to the adaptation to different wear purposes, from high performance footwear (military, professional, sports), to medium or low performance footwear (street, fashion, indoors, etc), makes it an indispensable material in this industrial sector, with a consumption level exceeding 25% of the total footwear produced. However, the rubber has to be vulcanised in order for it to be used subsequently and this operation is traditionally carried out in the footwear industry statically way by means of hot-plate presses, which unfavourably increases manufacturing times and energy consumption. This involves slow, unflexible and costly manufacturing processes which greatly limit production. The main objective of the project is to develop an alternative system to the traditional processes of rubber vulcanisation in the footwear industry, by means of microwave technology. For this, a pilot scale microwave oven prototype will be designed and built as well as microwave transparent moulds and rubber compounds sensitive to their heating action. All these elements will allow the vulcanisation of rubber components for footwear in a continuous manufacturing system. Microwave technology offers many advantages as compared to traditional processes: direct heating of the rubber mass and not of the moulds, faster, more even and selective heating, higher performance, less energy consumption, better quality and reproducibility of the finished product, less energy leakage to the environment, cleaner, less space for the installation, easier maintenance, electronic operation and control, automation capacity and a more comfortable working environment. The versatility of the above mentioned prototype will make the application of this technology possible not only for the vulcanisation processes related to the footwear sector, but for other industrial sectors involved in rubber vulcanising processes.

Funding Scheme

CRS - Cooperative research contracts

Coordinator

DKI PLAST A.S
Address
Erhvervsparken 7
Gadstrup
Denmark

Participants (7)

A J PRECISION COMPONENTS LTD.
Ireland
Address
Industrial Estate, Tuamgraney
116 Scariff
BRUNEL UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
Address
Kingston Lane
UB8 3PH Uxbridge
CEAG Sicherheitstechnik GmbH
Germany
Address
26,Senator-schwartz-ring 26
59494 Soest
Daimler-Benz AG
Germany
Address
Ludwig-bölkow-allee
81663 München
Europlaz Ltd.
United Kingdom
Address

CM0 7EH Southminster
Production Engineering Research Association - PERA
United Kingdom
Address
Nottingham Road
LE13 0PB Melton Mowbray - Leicestershire
SECURITY COMPOSITES LTD
United Kingdom
Address
Claremont Bank 8, Shrewsbury
SY1 1RW Shrewsbury