Pultrusion System iPul
Setting New Standards
At their first Competence Day Pultrusion, held on June 28, 2017 in Munich, Germany, KraussMaffei presented iPul, the first complete system for continuous pultrusion. The 'i' in iPul stands for injected, innovative, integrated and industrialized which are the core features of the new system.
In pultrusion, continuous fibers — usually of glass, carbon or aramide — are infiltrated with a reactive plastic matrix and formed to the desired profile in a heated mold. Grippers pull the cured profile continuously and feed it to a sawing unit. The new iPul system by KraussMaffei encompasses this entire sequence and revolutionizes the technology, which has been common for a long time, in two respects. It encapsulates the infiltration of the fibers, which so far mostly takes place in open vessels, in an injection box, which permits the use of fast-reacting systems (epoxy, polyurethane, polyamide 6). And it increases production speed from the usual 0.5 to 1.5 meters per minute to approximately 3 meters per minute. With this, efficiency approaches the extrusion of PVC, which opens entirely new markets to this technology.
The new pultrusion machine combines the direct injection of the matrix material and the radius pultrusion process in a unique way. The direct injection of the matrix material using a metering machine and an injection chamber offers clear technical and economic advantages compared with the typical market practice where impregnation is generally effected by pulling the reinforcement through a bath.
An important component of the new machine is the metering technology which has been optimized especially for the pultrusion process. It injects the matrix material directly and continuously into the injection chamber. This means the matrix systems can work with a higher reactivity, which in turn can be specifically coordinated to the property patterns of the end product. Another advantage: The current open resin bath where impregnation of the dry fibers must take place with the use of additional guide panels is omitted. Furthermore, the injection chamber supports the higher speeds required in production and is much more flexible and precise. For instance, the injection points can be easily and individually set and adjusted specific to the product.
Following the injection chamber the impregnated fibers are pulled through a heated stationary die. The component is cured in several individually selectable heating zones to achieve the desired hardened state. A profile pulling unit transports the pultruded profile continuously through the machine at constant speed before it can be cut and assembled. All machine components can be operated centrally via a control system.
Another advantage of the new iPul pultrusion machines from KraussMaffei is their flexibility. They are suitable for processing diverse matrix materials such as epoxy, polyurethane or in the future also polyamide 6. Fibers made from glass, carbon, basalt, or aramid are mainly used as reinforcement fibers. It is also possible to directly work in additives such as mineral fillers, pigments or flame retardants. With the new iPul pultrusion machines both linear profiles with complex cross-sections, as well as 2D and 3D curved profiles, can be manufactured in the patented radius pultrusion process. KraussMaffei is working closely with Thomas Technik, the inventor of radius pultrusion and an experienced supplier of pultrusion machines, which complement the metering machines from KraussMaffei perfectly.
KraussMaffei Technologies GmbH
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