Techmer PM, Oak Ridge National Laboratory partner for thermally conductive resin for use in autoclavable curing and compression molding tools | Companies
CLINTON, Tennessee – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Dec. July 2021–
When a large aerospace OEM needed a thermally conductive, autoclavable resin to improve the performance of 3D printed composite molds for compression molding, they turned to their materials design partner – Techmer PM LLC.
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Additively manufactured compression molding tool made of Electrafil® PESU 1815 3DP from Techmer PM. (Photo credit: Thermwood Corp.)
Techmer PM took up the challenge at the end of 2018 and just announced that it would market a new polyethersulfone (PESU) resin that is up to the task. Named Electrafil® PESU 1815 3DP, the product offers improved thermal conductivity to improve processing and cycle times at temperatures up to 350 ° F while maintaining properties critical to the additive manufacturing (AM) and composite hardening processes.
“The resin,” said Alan Franc, Techmer’s technology leader for new markets, “offers a more than 250 percent improvement in thermal conductivity in the X, Y and Z directions compared to conventional reinforced PESU AM mold compounds. At the same time, it maintains a similar module and heat resistance under load. “
Curing a thermoset part in the autoclave can typically take anywhere from two to 12 hours, but the higher thermal conductivity of Electrafil® PESU 1815 3DP promises to shorten these cycle times by speeding up the heating and cooling process.
In addition, Franc said, the material is proving useful in replacing more expensive metal tools for use in compression molding, which can lower tooling costs and enable more frequent, lower-cost design changes.
By creating shapes using additive manufacturing, tool designers can drastically reduce the development time from the first concept to the finished product. 3D printing the approximate tool shape and then milling it into the final shape can generally be completed in weeks rather than the months required with traditional methods. Techmer PM’s new technology will further increase the speed to market by accelerating the curing time of the final composite.
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s manufacturing demonstration facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) partnered with Techmer PM in the development process by providing key 3D printing and testing services. “We see strong market potential for this technology in sectors such as aerospace and automotive,” said Vlastimil Kunc, ORNL’s group leader for advanced composite manufacturing.
Franc noted that a major aerospace OEM is currently evaluating the effects of increased thermal conductivity on speeding up cure cycles in the autoclave. The project is currently running on a pilot scale and is producing validation samples for this customer, the results of which are expected this year.
In addition, a university is studying the effects of improved thermal conductivity on compression molding of composites, especially in machines that only use heated platen to heat the mold.
Techmer PM’s collaboration with ORNL continues to produce valuable results.
“A few years ago,” said Franc, “people thought you couldn’t use plastic tools in an autoclave,” provided they melted or deformed. However, Techmer developed an initial PESU material called Electrafil® PESU 1810 3DP that could withstand the heat. However, this newest grade appears to further improve performance and reduce costs while also being commercially viable as a production tool material for compression molding.
Techmer PM is looking for additional partners to test and validate the material in these different applications.
About Techmer PM
Techmer PM LLC, founded in 1981, is a materials design company that specializes in modifying and fine-tuning the properties of engineering polymers. The company, based in Clinton, Tennessee, thrives on partnerships and collaborations with plastics processors, manufacturers, designers, planners and brand owners. With a broad portfolio of resins – from polyolefins to PEEK – Techmer PM helps manufacturers improve product function and appearance in numerous end-user markets. The award-winning company operates seven North American plants and has extensive know-how in almost all plastic and fiber-related processes, from additive manufacturing to blown film to nonwovens, injection molding and sheet extrusion. Techmer PM has been named one of the “Best Places to Work” in the North American plastics industry six times by Plastics News since 2014. www.techmerpm.com
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CONTACT: Techmer PM LLC
Phone: + 1‐951-903-9111
Email: [email protected]
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA TENNESSEE
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: ENGINEERING CHEMICALS / PLASTICS AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTION AIR AND SPACE PRODUCTION OTHER PRODUCTION
SOURCE: Techmer PM
Copyright Business Wire 2021.
PUB: 7/12/2021 7:00 AM / DISC: 7/12/2021 7:01 AM
Copyright Business Wire 2021.