As a leading manufacturer of vacuum laminating plant for motor vehicle applications, 3CON is using Heraeus infrared emitters for the heating of PVC foil and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). “In contrast to the old design, fused silica emitters which we used previously, the Heraeus emitters heat the foils much faster and, at the same time, save an enormous amount of energy and foil material, says Georg Schemmerer, 3CON’s marketing manager. “That is a huge technical advance for this application which has been on the market for a long time.”
Heraeus Noblelight is showing this, alongside other innovative infrared solutions for plastics processing, at the Fakuma exhibition, which takes place in Friedrichshafen from 17th to 21st October.
Faster and energy- and space-saving. Infrared emitters optimize vacuum lamination
Doors, central consoles and instrument panels are just some of the interior fittings of a car which are made of plastic or natural fiber carrier, coated with a foam foil. The adhesive system is first applied to the foil or the natural fiber carrier. By using vacuum laminating technology, the foil is then laminated onto the carrier backing.
A series of tests carried at 3CON identified the infrared emitters which perfectly matched both the applied foils and the emitter control system developed by 3CON. The result was a reduction in cycle time by around five seconds and a targeted penetrative heating or surface heating, to comply with the adhesive system used. Previously, the fused silica emitters usually required a standby control system to provide a permanent pre-heating of around 30% and this is not necessary with the modern, fast response medium wave emitters. These are switched on only when heat is actually required. Consequently, the ambient surroundings are not needlessly warmed, resulting in significant energy savings.
Not least, the change-over to the modern emitters has allowed a considerable space saving. Before, the heaters had to be removed from under the foil to prevent overheating or damage to the foil in the event of an emergency stoppage. Because of their smaller mass, the fast response medium wave emitters cool down very quickly when switched off and their removal is no longer necessary. As a result, the six square meters formerly required as a parking area has now been freed up.
Background: Infrared Heating in Motor Manufacture
Innovative infrared heating systems form the backbone of many heating processes in modern motor manufacture. Today, an infrared emitter from Heraeus Noblelight can be found in the manufacture of at least 200 car parts. Chrome-plated interior cladding, cut-to-shape carpets, airbag housings and steering wheel caps, roof liners, glove compartments, trims and bumpers are just some of the components made of plastic. As there is such a variety of plastic components, there is also a range of individual infrared solutions to match the required heating process. However, these all have one thing in common: the infrared systems are precisely matched to both the product and the process and save energy, costs and time. If you know the process exactly, then you can improve quality and save energy. New developments and intelligent infrared systems contribute to optimized process solutions, especially in plastics processing.