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IMC technology and its application in LFTCosmos


Date Published:6/5/2008 04:06:32 PM



Rapid development in the automobile industry imposes ever higher requirements on plastic processing technology. Consumption quantity of automotive plastics is one of the signs that reflect the level of automobile manufacturing technology of a particular country. Currently, development focus is towards automotive structural plastic components and semi-structural plastic components. Thus, long glass fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) is increasingly used to satisfy strength and rigidity requirements demanded by such products. This material is very suitable for making frames. When used for sedans, long glass fiber reinforced plastics exhibit its benefits of being light weight, energy saving, environmental friendliness and provide good cosmetic appearance. For instance, long glass fiber reinforced plastic has been used as bumper module and door module of the Mazda 6. According to unofficial statistics, global annual output of long glass fiber reinforced thermoplastics amounts to about 126,000 tons. In the manufacturing process of glass fiber reinforced thermoplastics, fibers can be damaged by the shearing force between the screw and the cylinder when mixed with resins in the extruder. To cope with this problem, LFT is gradually developed. Glass fibers in LFT product are relatively longer, usually being 3~5mm, and the fibers are evenly distributed, so the mechanical property of the product is effectively improved, especially its impact strength and thermal stability. Forthis reason, LFT receives much well deserved attention. Currently, there are two types of production methods. One is to create a blended LFT base material, process into grains, then use this mixture for normal injection molding operation. The alternative is one-step in-line compounding i.e. to compound glass fiber, plastic and additive on the production line, then directly mold the mixture into product, without the need for intermediate step of pelletizing. LFT base material method In the past, LFT grains were made by methods of cable jacketing and powder impregnating. In recent times, a new process is used. Twistless fibers are forced to pass through a special die while thermoplastic is fed to the die. The twistless fibers are dispersed up in the die and impregnated by the melted resin so that every fiber is covered with resin, and finally the long grains are cut after cooling. Since the fibers are entirely surrounded by the resins, it is less likely to be damaged by the screw during injection molding, therefore ong fiber length in the final product is ensured. LFT In-line Molding Compounder (IMC) technology In-line Molding Compounder (IMC) technology is to combine the compounding process in the molding process (extrusion or injection) of the product so that the compounding and molding of product are completed in an uninterrupted manner on the production line. The operation principle of the technology is: by adding a continuous material feeding mechanism that may be a multi-component volume measuring device or a weNike

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