CW Blog

So, you want to overmold

 

For most of their histories, composites fabrication and thermoplastic injection molding have lived in their own worlds, linked by a common polymer DNA, but separated by process differences that have effectively cleaved these two industries.

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While the status of wind energy projects in the US tends to be as changing as, well, the wind, last week saw some exciting developments. Potential offshore wind farm projects were reported for both East and West coasts.

The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM, Washington, DC, US) is conducting assessments of the Atlantic Coast for offshore wind farm locations and is seeking public input. More information about how to submit input is available on the BOEM website.

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An SMC machinery provider adds automation

 

About the time that I started writing about the composites industry, I was introduced to the concept of SMC – sheet molding compound. SMC was already a well-established technology then, and that was about 20 years ago. The concept of cutting the glass roving over the moving resin film, flattened by the doctor bar, was explained to me by the principals of Finn & Fram (San Fernando, CA, US), including Dr. Jerry Fram. Many articles about SMC and its growth trajectory, including ever-improving quality and lower density, as well as machine improvements, have followed in CW ever since. So, I was intrigued this year at the JEC World in Paris to meet with a German company, Schmidt & Heinzmann (S&H, Bruchsal, Germany), a name that has turned up almost every time I tour a composites facility and see its equipment. It got its start in 1949 producing machinery for the plastics industry and started selling SMC and BMC equipment in 1973. It considers itself the leader in SMC technology, and is currently producing a wide variety of automated solutions for composites processing that go beyond just sheet molding compound production.

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If you are connected to the surface finishing industry through machining or manufacturing materials, then Cleveland is where you will want to be June 4-6 when the community gathers at the Sur/Fin Manufacturing and Technology Trade Show and Conference hosted by the National Association for Surface Finishing.

“With more than 80 technical presentation and over 180 experts in the industry on hand, Sur/Fin is the place to learn, meet and discover all the latest in technology and innovations,” says Matt Akin, chairperson of the Sur/Fin Conference.

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