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Rubbercraft Showcase Custom Made High Performance Reusable Vacuum Bags at JEC World

Rubbercraft Showcase Custom Made High Performance Reusable Vacuum Bags at JEC World

  • Tuesday, 7th March 2017
  • Reading time: about 5 minutes

Rubbercraft will showcase its latest capabilities to design and custom manufacture elastomeric Reusable Vacuum Bags (RVB) during JEC World in Paris, France.

Rubbercraft says that leading OEM customers in the aircraft sector are already using its high performance RVB solution, typically for producing large scale FRP composite parts moulded using an epoxy infusion resin, or an epoxy prepreg system either in, or out of autoclave. Rubbercraft adds that its customised RVB product offering includes large and complex shaped bags that can feature integrated breather layers to effectively prevent permeation and can be in direct contact with epoxy resin systems. The products are primarily aimed at Aerospace & Defence, Wind Energy and industrial sectors where a high confidence level to consistently precision mould void free, high quality fibre reinforced composite components to exacting specifications is a critical factor.  

According to Rubbercraft, its RVB sheet production process and custom design service provides customers with a very reliable reusable tooling solution, which not only produces higher quality mouldings time after time, but also offers a lower cost per cure and reduces labour and materials cost.  Overall, this RVB system offers manufacturers a lower amortised tooling cost alternative to a disposable bagging system, especially for advanced composite parts needing compacting or debulking as part of a multiple ply moulding process.

Libby Thompson, IPS Group Marketing Manager commented, “Rubbercraft has exhibited at JEC in Paris before, so we know that it provides an excellent international platform, not only to showcase our new RVB product, but our wider range of products and capabilities. The JEC show provides us with the opportunity to meet key decision makers from both Europe and the rest of the world. This is important to us, as our fundamental aim during the show is to listen, learn and understand more about the latest industry challenges by speaking with researchers, designers, engineers, operators and buyers, and to then see if we can provide an appropriate solution to any of these challenges.”

Rubbercraft explains that it provides customers with a totally customised system solution, where the final RVB product supplied meets the specific needs of an individual component, custom designed and manufactured in sizes up to 20 m² (215 ft²).  To do this, engineers from its technical team, based in Long Beach, California, US, are involved from the start to ensure that the RVB compound materials used and sheet layering design specification matches customer needs in terms of: heat and pressure processing parameters; any extra release coating requirements, such as FEP/ PTFE; the desired part surface finish and detail; the estimated number of pulls and overall longevity of the RVB to ensure financial payback. Software tools used include: Solidworks, CATIA, MasterCAM, Unigraphics, IGES, STEP, AutoCAD, and Pro-E.

To provide superior properties and performance in use, Rubbercraft says it only uses 100% virgin raw material compounds from approved suppliers. The manufacturing process produces improved elastomeric properties, which enables the RVB to consistently produce moulded parts with a superior quality surface finish and  dimensional accuracy, as well as providing the added benefits of greater bag longevity, with little if any deterioration in the surface condition or elastomeric properties.

Typically, either a silicone rubber (max 150 °C, 302°F) or high rated fluroelastomer (max 200 °C, 392 °F) based raw material compound is specified to produce the initial uncured calendered sheet from which the RVB will be cut once  fully cured in a heat treatment oven.  The final stage is to cut out the exact size of RVB required and bond into place the edging and outer seals using an RTV silicone adhesive (Room Temperature Vulcanisation silicone) system. Multi-layer bags are also assembled using an additional breather layer and integrated vent ports. The bags can include edge seals that can either be integrated into the hard tooling or seal to the hard tooling.

According to Rubbercraft, its  elastomeric tooling solutions have been used by OEMs for a wide variety of aircraft development and production programs, including Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’s A350XWB. Rubbercraft is fully ISO 9001 and AS9100 accredited, with a proven 25 year track record of supplying elastomeric tooling solutions for a wide variety of composites aircraft applications including: winglets, nacelles, wing spars, horizontal stabiliser stiffeners, fuselage, doors and other complex shaped components that require trapped tooling such as bladders or mandrels. A wide range of composite manufacturing processes are supported by its solutions, including Inner Mould Line (IML) and Outer Mould Line (OML) designs, Autoclave and Out of Autoclave (OoA) processing.

Visit Rubbercraft in Hall 6, Stand D68 at JEC World 2017.

Image provided by Rubbercraft

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