An alternative non-stick coating is required for resin mould tooling to extend the number of uses prior to requiring the coating to be removed and re-coated.
The moulding of large epoxy resin based composite components, currently use fluoropolymer release coated metal multi-part tools (Aluminium and Carbon Steel). The tools are in the range of 0.8m to 2.5m diameter cylindrical tools and typically need to be re-coated after a number of uses. The wear is as a result of abrasion between the cured component and the tool’s surface coating, following the extraction of the moulded component. The costs associated with this re-coating are a significant element of the overall production costs and therefore an alternative solution that would increase the number of cycles before re-coating is required.
Prior to moulding of the super-conducting coil the multi-part tools must be assembled to form the tool cavity. The moulding takes place under a vacuum and therefore outgassing of the coating solution must be minimal. During the curing cycle the tool is exposed to a temperature of 100° C for a period of several hours. Once cured, the tool is disassembled and the moulded component is removed from the tool. During this process the moulded part grips the tool and therefore during removal the part slides across the surface of the tool. After multiple cycles the coating is abraded to a level where it is required to be replaced to ensure the component does not stick to the tooling.
Figure 1 Sectional view of a typical multi-part mould tool construction
Figure 2 Typical tooling construction
Key success Criteria
The coating shall be capable of:
Being easily applied to carbon steel or Aluminium Alloy tooling in the size range 0.8m to 2.5m diameter by 1m high
Coating application does not affect deform tool (Tool tolerances +/-0.05mm)
Being robust enough to resist damage during the handling of the tooling and abrasion during the removal of the moulded component following the resin curing cycle
Known electrical breakdown resistance
Capable of resisting temperatures of ~100°C throughout the resin curing process
Minimal out-gassing during the production cycle
Coating must not transfer to moulded component
Being repaired or removed and re-applied should the coating be damaged
Lowest cost / moulding cycle, e.g. Coating cost divided by number of cycles
Being applied in a known and repeatable thickness
The current solution is a multi-use coating that is applied via spraying and therefore alternative materials that could be applied in a similar or different approach would be considered. Single use solutions that can be re-applied easily prior to each use could also be considered.
Approaches not of Interest
All options that align to the key success criteria shall be considered.
Items to be submitted
Solutions to this problem should describe in detail the following aspects:
Material description and application process
Lead time to complete coating application
Current availability of proposed solution
Timeline to supply a development sample
Price estimation based on all elements of the solution with m2 as the defined unit of measure
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