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Software simulates composite molding

LCMFLOT 2001, software that simulates various liquid composite molding processes, is now available from ESI Group, a provider of virtual prototyping and manufacturing simulation software. Compatible with the full range of thermoset resin and fiber combinations, LCMFLOT 2001 simulates the injection process, allowing users to optimize process parameters such as injection pressure, flow rate, and temperature as well as determine gating and venting locations. The software also provides a visualization of the flow front within the cavity to flag filling problems. And it predicts the cure evolution. Originally developed and marketed by the Canadian firm L3P, which ESI recently acquired, LCMFLOT will soon be fully integrated into ESI's existing suite of composite simulation tools. These programs include SYSPLY for composite part analysis, PAM-FORM for composite forming simulation, and PAMCRASH for composite crash simulations.

ESI Group : Enter 515

Tofu tractors?

A new polyurethane reaction injection molding (RIM) material from Bayer Corp. and John Deere really does rest on a hill of beans. Called HarvestFoam, this polyurethane high-density structural foam system features a soybean-based polyol component. Weighing about 25% less than steel, the soy-based composite will see its first use next year in the panels that will clad all of Deere's combines. Property-wise, the new material is similar to the traditional Baydur RIM systems that Deere has used on earlier panels.

Bayer Corp. : Enter 516

Epoxy paste replaces fiberglass tooling

Seamless modeling paste (SMP) can serve as a quick, accurate alternative to fiberglass-and-epoxy tooling in stretch form dies. At least, that's what Cessna Aircraft Company has discovered. The company now uses a Ren RP 4569-1 RH paste to make 12-foot-long stretch form dies for the Sovereign business jet's tail cone section. The two-component paste, which is extruded over a steel substrate and machined after a 24-hr cure, offers a significant speed advantage over dies created with traditional composite lay-up techniques. According to Cessna Tooling Superintendent Larry Stephens, the new dies can be built in 120 hours versus 720 hours for old-style composite dies. The SMP also helps preserve dimensional tolerances because it doesn't require the use of multiple tooling generations, Stephenson explains, noting that Cessna expects each SMP die to stretch 2,000 to 3,000 aluminum tail-cone skins at 250 tons of pressure. Aided by low shrinkage and its 80 Shore D surface hardness, the SMP has produced dies accurate to plus or minus 0.005 inch, he adds.

Vantico Inc. : Enter 517

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