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Development of low cost flexible moulds for the transformation of composites


By means of this project it is intended to develop a process to manufacture low cost flexible semimoulds to produce high consumption composite parts by closed moulding processes. Composites offer important technological benefits in terms of functional character, quality, design versatility, environmental solutions, etc. However, except for sectors where technical requirements (space and aeronautics) are high, the potential applications of composites are not much developed, mainly due to economical reasons. The 60% of the composites moulding processes in Europe are carried out by means of poorly industrialised techniques (hand lay-up and spray-up), which involve hazardous organic volatile emission. In addition, in these processes the quality of the part depends on the skill of the operator. Although composite closed moulding processes are already available, they are not suited to the usual dimension, economical and batch size requirements of sectors of high consumption. The main aim of the project is to develop a process to manufacture flexible semimoulds by means of resins that cure at ambient temperature and that can be easily distributed over a conventional rigid semimould to obtain both shaped sheets or shaped inflatable bags applicable to vacuum moulding, infusion moulding or RTM. At the same time, those moulding processes will need an adaptation to the new semimoulds. The fulfillment of this objective would provide the following advantages to all the sectors involved in the transformation of composites (raw materials producers, transformers and end users):
Environmental improvement: It is intended to reduce organic volatile emission to a quantity lower than 20 ppm. This could help not to close many open moulding production firms which at present do not stay within the limits imposed by the legislation. At the same time, raw materials waste will be reduced and the new flexible semimoulds will be reusable.
Increase in the consumption of composites: The technological advantages offered by composites (low weight, technical versatility, corrosion resistance, moulding friendliness..) will be incorporated in industrial sectors such as transportation, building etc..
A competitive improvement of 18,55 million ECU in an accesible European composites market of 24725 Tn per year, giving to Europe the possibility of offering better products at a lower cost. Improvement in quality: Industrialisation will get increased and the skill of the operator will not be so influential. This will allow to obtain homogeneous parts referring to quality.

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Plastico Tolosa SA
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55,Poligono 55
20140 Andoain

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