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3iTech Technology uses a process where the mould is heated by electromagnetic induction. The inductors are integrated inside the mould at manufacturing time in order to match the shape of the part.
Placed several millimetres from the surface of the mould, the inductors therefore heat a reduced area of the tool by conduction. According to Alexandre Guichard, RocTool’s CEO, “the composite industry has been waiting for this innovation for 20 years”.
According to RocTool, the ‘super cartridge heater’ uses minimal energy and it heats the mould from 60°C to 200°C in a few seconds. As the heating is concentrated close to the mould surface, the cooling (via traditional water channels) is equally very fast.
“In plastic injection, to be able to heat a mold at a temperature very close to the material injected revolutionises the flow and rhelogy,” continues Alexandre Guichard. “The market needs solutions: making it possible to heat the mold during the injection phase means we can produce parts without welding lines, so no paint is needed, with an improved glossy appearance and reduced thickness.”
“RocTool can now offer their clients a portfolio of technologies dedicated to heating by induction. As the Cage System and 3iTech target different markets we now offer a more overall choice. This choice is made depending on the materials used and the chosen applications. Regardless of what is required, our portfolio of technologies opens the door to all parts that can be manufactured by induction,” indicates Alexandre Guichard.
According to RocTool, the Cage System can produce parts at very high temperatures (up to 400°C). With 3iTech, the advantage for plastic injection, is that it can be heated at the same time as the injection phase, which improves the flow and reduces the pressure.
When using composites, the traditional obstacles for molding carbon fibre are removed, as there is no longer electrical current circulation at the mould surface: an average production size for composite parts with a carbon fibre base, using heating cycles of ten to twelve seconds, will become a determining factor in the Aerospace, Automotive and Sports & Leisure industries.
RocTool also say that this system is suitable for plastic injection moulded parts such as PDA’s, laptop covers, TV screens, as well as for the automobile industry on decorative interior parts and panels for the car’s exterior.
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