Wickert Hydraulic Presses (Landau, Germany) has developed a line of precision high-temperature vacuum heating (HTVH) presses. The HTVH press vacuum, heating, parallelism and controls are designed to offer excellent out-of-autoclave (OOA) results with faster turn times. Maximum product dimensions that can be accommodate are 1,100 mm by 1,100 mm. With a heat output of 2x 50 kW, the maximum temperature of 425°C reportedly can be ramped quickly from room temperature due to a focused heating area. Both heating plates are equipped with six-zone temperature control designed specifically for this purpose, allowing easy material-specific adjustments. The control accuracy of the heating element zone monitoring system is +1.0°C. The contact heating press can be time- or temperature-controlled, to enhance system consistency. All process data are logged, including target/actual temperatures of the heating plates, mold, product temperatures, ramp/hold times and the entire pressure cycle. Materials suitable for this press include PPS, PEI or PEEK, or conductive polymers including structures made from thermoplastic prepreg UD tape, or specialized plastic or elastomeric components where high processing temperatures and improved A/B surfaces are critical.
Editor PickAutocomposites and the myth of $5/lb carbon fiber
The $5/lb line in the sand comes with a similar challenge that, ultimately, will determine the fate of carbon fiber in automotive: Manufacturability.