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Diaphorm to Highlight New Molded-in Cosmetic Finishes

30 September 2003

At Composites 2003, Diaphorm will exhibit a variety of fully finished thermoplastic composite parts that it says cost up to 70% less than compression moldings in short-to-medium runs.

Made in Diaphorm’s patent-pending ‘soft molding’ process, the parts include high gloss and textured helmets, canoe seats and other industrial and automotive related prototype parts. Both the part and surface finish are co-molded in a one-step process. The proprietary process uses inexpensive tooling, low molding pressures and lightweight equipment.

“Even before we offered this new cosmetic finish capability, our process filled the gap between hand lay-up and compression molding,” says Bob Miller, Diaphorm Division general manager. “It’s ideal for structural composites in lot sizes between 1,000 and 50,000, even appearance-sensitive parts for sports equipment, automobiles and other consumer goods.”

Parts on exhibit at CFA 2003 feature advanced paint films over various combinations of continuously-reinforced composite material films. Films include GE Plastics, Mayco, and Solient. Among the principal substrates are Axdel, Hexcel, Vetrotex, and others. Also shown are samples featuring the popular high-tech “carbon-fiber” look, created at very low cost by combining dry carbon and clear films in a one-step process.

The Diaphorm uses a single-sided mold, an oven to melt the thermoplastic composite and a rubber diaphragm to conform that material to the shape of the mold.






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