Wickert (Landau, Germany) is featuring its line of high-temperature contact heating presses that support processing temperatures of up to 425°C. Such systems are being used in the thermoplastics processing industry with the focus of local continuous fiber reinforcement, including the processing of continuous fiber-reinforced semi-finished products like unidirectional tapes. Resins used include PPS, PEI and PEEK). Current system designs support product dimensions of up to 1,100 mm by 1,100 mm. Typical available heating output is 2 x 50 kW and reportedly the maximum temperature of 425°C can be reached quickly starting from room temperature. The heating platens are equipped with six-zone temperature control designed specifically for this purpose, making it quick and easy to make material-specific process adjustments. The control accuracy of the heating element zone monitoring system is said to be +1.0°C. The contact heating press can be time- or temperature-controlled. All process-related data, such as the target/actual temperatures of the heating plates, product temperatures, heating and stop times and the entire cycle time, are recorded, monitored and displayed.
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When humans do finally travel to Mars, they will have to be well protected from a less-than-hospitable environment. The suit designed to do the job is already in development at NASA, and it relies heavily on composites.