SHTM (Self Heated Thin Mold) is a innovative mold for composite parts manufacturing.
In the global aim of reducing the costs and optimizing the manufacture of composite parts, we developed this composite tooling with an integrated closing system for low pressure.
In our new mold solution, the heating fluid circuit is adapted to the geometry of the part. In order to achieve a good thermal homogeneity, the distance between the heating tubes and the molding surface is constant. We obtain high heating speed as the tubes are installed close to the molding surface.
The mold, the heating fluid circuit and the part to be molded have approximately the same dilation, there is no problem during the cooling of the equipment after the polymerization of the part in the mold. The closing of the mould is achieved thanks to a vacuum application on a dedicated surface. The vacuum application zone is isolated from the molding surface thanks to silicone seals.
Advantages for the manufacture of the mold:
- Practically constant thickness
- Cost price of the mold is low
- Reduced time for mold manufacturing
Advantages for the process:
- It is a cost-effective solution because there is no need for a press, autoclave nor oven.
- It reduces the manufacturing times. As the quantity of the mold material is optimized, the mass of the mold is lower. When there is less mass to be heated there is less heating power needed and a smaller pump to circulate the heating fluid is sufficient.
- Moreover it result in parts with good aspects on both sides with a combined RTM and Infusion technology.
- It is completely autonomous: no need for autoclave, press or oven
- The parts can have a Fiber Volume fraction up to 60%
- We have a precise control of the mould temperature.
- It has the possibility to use this process for big size parts
- We have good thermal dynamics and thermal homogeneity of the moulding surface of +/-2°C at 180°C
- And it reduces the recurring costs because it’s close to zero need for consumables.
This present invention is especially suited for big size parts for wind energy, marine or aeronautics industries.