Infrared heat, Flash processes and UV curing for composite materials

Infrared heat processes and UV curing for composite materials

Composite materials are different based on their purpose: short-fibre reinforced thermosetting plastics for large car body parts, long-fibre reinforced thermoplastics for high-strength structural components, woven rovings for wind energy plants or filament windings for sleeves and pressure cylinders. They all have in common that they are to be produced in the most cost-efficient way.
To fabricate these modern components, infrared heat or UV radiation are used because they quickly and homogeneously heat or cure them and in this way shorten process times.

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Composites processing with Infrared Heat

Infrared heat cures thermosetting plastics and heats thermoplastics prior to welding, moulding or forming. Infrared radiation can be precisely adjusted to the product and the process. Advanced numerical methods such as ray tracing and computational fluid dynamics help make the heating of large surfaces homogeneous.

Application examples:

  • Curing of thermosetting plastics
  • Heating of thermoplastics
  • Joining of layers of composite materials
  • Compacting of layers of compositve materials
  • Prehating of composite materials prior to forming

Drying and Curing with UV technology

UV radiation is used to cure glass-fibre reinforced resins, unsaturated polyesters and vinyl esters. The UV method is independent of moisture and temperature, consistent and well controllable. The curing within seconds is especially advantageous for the mass production of products which are moulded, pultruded or wound.

Application examples:

  • Boats
  • Skylight panels
  • Shower and tub enclosures
  • Motor caravan and truck panels
  • Masts and poles
  • Tanks
  • Pipes

Composites processing with Flash Lamps

Flash lamps are very intensive UV and IR sources that can release their energy within milliseconds. The light output can be used as an energy source for curing, heating or tempering surfaces and coatings. They are particularly suitable when a lot of energy is needed within a very short time.

Application examples:

  • Curing of composites
  • Heating and tempering
  • Automated fibre placement
  • Fibre winding