Clearmelt is a high-volume manufacturing system
that combines both thermoplastic injection molding and thermoset polyurethane
(PUR) reaction injection molding, with innovative mold design and dedicated
automation to efficiently and economically produce scratch-proof, attractive,
clear-coated components, such as finished automotive interior trim.
example, when using a sliding-platen two-cavity mold a thermoplastic substrate
is molded, while, simultaneously, the empty mold cavity is sprayed with a PUR
mold release agent. When moved into position, a clear PUR coating is injected
onto the molded thermoplastic part and cured. Then, when that portion of the
mold opens, the finished part is robotically removed, oriented, and stacked
while, simultaneously, a thermoplastic substrate is molded in the other, empty,
a more continuous clear-coated parts production using the clearmelt process, a multicavity rotary-platen
mold can be used.
more conventional spray-coating and varnishing methods, ENGEL clearmelt reduces finishing
requirements, while also reducing the cost of labor, materials, and waste
disposal. Also, conventional spray-coating and varnishing technologies can
require time-consuming and expensive multiple coating methods, which often can
result in a substantial number of rejects. And, unlike clearmelt, such conventional technologies are incapable of
producing aesthetically pleasing three-dimensional effects at coating
thicknesses of less than 0.5 mm.
clearmelt technology also may
advance into the field of consumer electronics-enhancing the aesthetically
appealing appearance of finished electronic parts, while also providing more
opportunities for increasing integrated part functionality.
example, ENGEL has demonstrated the production of functional electronic
components that incorporate a capacitive foil overmolded with a clear,
protective, ultra-high-gloss PUR film. Electronic circuits can be actuated
simply by touching the respective symbol beneath the thin PUR film. ENGEL has
also demonstrated the versatility of clearmelt
technology by molding sample products with a non-functional, but
aesthetically pleasing appearance, including clear-coated parts with carbon-
and wood-finished substrates.
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