03 October, 2017
The Ceramicx commitment to the automotive supply industry on these pages has not gone unnoticed in recent months.
Our attendance at the Composites UK Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) event in May of this year brought us alongside many leading OEMs and 1st Tier suppliers in the UK. Enquiries from near and far about our Infrared heat technology in the sector continue to occupy our designers and engineers.
The automotive sector proves time and again that just as there is room for all kinds of vehicles - from standard to luxury – so there is room for all kinds of materials processing, from functional to exotic, from complex composite lay-ups to the simplest moulded component.
The contribution of all these components is needed for the make-up of the modern car. One common denominator is the drive to weight reduction: Any driver who has recently opened a boot, adjusted the parcel shelves and spare tyre covers will know at first hand that lightweighting of components continues to dominate new models.
Ceramicx recently won an important order to supply a Tier 1 supplier with an Infrared thermoforming system making such products for a leading automotive OEM in the UK.
Our heat work was required to fit into the cut sheet process for the thermoforming of car interior liners - in this case the boot space. Black carpet onto black plastic sheet was robotically loaded onto a moving table then moved across into the heated zone.
The IR heat system is applied to the top and bottom of the part for a period of time. The sheet is then moved onto the mould surface where it is slowly pressed into the required shape. The component is then allowed to sit in the mould for a set period of time in order to cool. It is then removed and a trimming and finishing process is performed.
A top and bottom Infrared (IR)-based heating system using 276 HTE Ceramic heaters of 200w and 300W was supplied for each of the customer’s two thermoforming platens. A total of 18 zones of control in the platen were outlined by the customer. A series of HTE 300W heaters were used around the perimeter of both the top and lower platen to minimise edge loss of heat.
When correctly applied, IR-based heating never fails to perform with regards to consistency and repeatability. Our automotive customer’s staff was impressed with the fast heat-up time for the ceramic heaters and the ease at which the IR heaters found and remained at the required temperature set-point.
The proof of the pudding has meant that the customer has just placed an order for a second oven. Ceramicx is delighted that these IR heating efficiencies can be passed on so directly to the modern automotive industry and its customers.