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A new system available through Bentley Chemicals that features spray-on, or brush-on, “instant” silicone bags that can be used over and over again for moulding composites under vacuum is already bringing major production benefits.
Bentley say that the bags can be easily made by the operator in as little as 30 minutes and the process is much faster, cheaper and greener than the traditional methods widely used in aerospace, automotive and marine composite moulding. It has been estimated that the new process is already saving up to 90% of labour costs.
The Company has already helped to pioneer its use in motor racing – working closely with a racing team, it has been able to help them dramatically reduce the time taken to mould complex composite parts – and it is now working with a major marine manufacturer to research how the system can benefit its production processes.
The silicone has been developed by Smooth-On in the United States and the bags are created by either spraying or brushing the special silicone onto a composite profile already sitting inside the mould. Once it has cured, the bag is simply peeled away and stored ready for use in the vacuum process.
“We know that this new silicone bag system has major potential for many composite moulding applications currently using the vacuum process,” commented Richard Watson from Bentley, “we are looking forward to working closely with fabricators to see them reap the major benefits that it can bring.”
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