IACMI to host two-day SMC workshop
The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI; Knoxville, Tenn., U.S.) will host a two-day workshop called “SMC 101: From What to Why” at IACMI’s Scale-Up Research Facility (SURF) in Detroit, Michigan on August 21-22, 2019.
The workshop is open to to technicians, buyers, engineers and anyone interested in sheet molding compound (SMC) and the opportunity to understand the benefits and best practices of using SMC, IACMI says.
Topics covered in the workshop include standard and low-density SMC, shrinkage control, SMC formulating, SMC compounding, compression molding SMC, and more. IACMI SURF is home to a 4,000-ton Schuler compression molding press — the only one in North America that is available to industry for research and development testing, IACMI says.
The workshop will be led by industry expert Jim Plaunt, who has more than 40 years of SMC and composite materials experience. Plaunt has worked at Ford Motor Co., Owens Corning Fiberglas and AOC, and has been a faculty member at Bowling Green State University. He will use his industry knowledge combined with effective teaching methods to create a relevant and robust learning experience.
Plaunt appreciates the importance of understanding not only what a new manufacturing process entails, but also why it is done in the required process. “Manufacturing and SMC have always been an exciting part of my life. However, in this industry, I quickly learned that we do many important actions (the what to do) in SMC, but we don’t always know why we’re doing them. Although it’s good to find out how to do things properly, it’s more important to have the knowledge of why,” he says.
According to IACMI, as SMC applications continue to grow in the automotive industry, new opportunities for SMC growth should arise in the automotive manufacturing sector. Advancements such as low-density SMC provide benefits to several Tier 1 suppliers and automotive OEMs. Within the automotive industry, SMC is recognized as an alternative to aluminum and other lightweight material options; SMC stiffness properties are comparable to these other materials when properly designed. As alternative powertrain vehicles, such as electric, become more accepted by the general public, SMC will continue to provide an outstanding material option.
SMC can be utilized in moderate to high-volume applications because of its strength and low production cycle, which is an important characteristic in the automotive industry. SMC can be formulated to be as light as aluminum but has the capability to be molded into surfaces more easily than the metal. Furthermore, the tooling costs are less costly than aluminum. For example, with a metal part, progressive tooling is required to achieve a finished part but only one tool is needed with a SMC panel, IACMI says.
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