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Signature Control Systems, innovators in process control technology for the thermoset industry, has successfully completed a production trial of a dielectric sensor to control the cure cycle.
Using dielectric sensors in the mould (on the Class A surface), the company were able to obtain a cure curve for the SMC, trigger the injection of the in-mould coating (IMC) at the optimal cure state of the SMC, monitor the cure of the IMC and then trigger the press to open when the whole part was fully cured. By monitoring and controlling the cure cycle with our in mould sensors, they were able to eliminate costly safety margins and reduce the cure time by about 20 percent and guarantee the SMC and IMC were fully cured, ensuring an acceptable painted surface.
The company have developed the product in light of the industry persistently looking for improvements in techniques for painting plastic parts, with companies such as Meridian, Budd, Ashland, AOC Sherwin Williams and Omnova all working ways to modify the process to minimize “paint pops” and other surface imperfections that have limited the use of composites for automotive exterior panels.
Signature Control Systems believe that their process control technology will provide moulders the tools necessary to make consistently improved quality parts.
The companies in-mould dielectric sensors have attracted the interest of customers that include Meridian, Budd, Premix, Ashland, AOC, Sherwin Williams, Interplastic, BMCI, Kurz-Kasch, General Electric, Eaton Cutler-Hammer, Core Molding Technologies, Molded Fiber Glass and Stanley Electric. They also recently signed a Global Commercial Agreement with Ashland Chemical which will allow Ashland to sell SmartTrac dielectric technology in conjunction with their Spiral Flow Mould technology.
The technology works on SMC, BMC, Phenolic, Epoxy, urethane and other thermosetting materials, along with every moulding process including compression, injection, transfer, RTM, VARTM and RIM.
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