Madison Heights, Michigan -- Henkel has installed a high-pressure Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) system to support automotive applications for the firm's range of Loctite MAX Series PU resins for carbon-fibre and glass-fibre composites.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first high-pressure RTM system for a two-component polyurethane in the United States," said Kevin Roslinski, Henkel senior application engineer, adhesive technologies, North America.
"Traditionally, most automotive suppliers' systems are designed for two-component epoxy, not polyurethane which seems better suited for mass production."
"We invite automotive OEMs and suppliers to come visit us at our Madison Heights facility, so they can quickly – and at no cost – qualify polyurethane properties to see if their composite material is a viable option for future applications," Roslinski said. "They can come to us with different ideas of orientations of fibres and different weaves they've developed and test them out before wasting time and spending money on expensive moulds."
Henkel's RTM unit has the capability to shoot a two-dimensional, 8-by-11-inch plaque with a 4mm thickness. In the future, the system will have the capability to provide various thicknesses and utilise different inserts for creating class-A surfaces.
Henkel said that both Loctite MAX 2 and Loctite MAX 3 offer a polyurethane-based composite matrix resin that cures significantly faster than the epoxy products usually employed for the RTM process. The firm adds that Loctite MAX 3 contains resin, hardener and also a high-performance release agent. This ensures easy detachment of the component from its mould and the surface can be painted immediately, said Henkel. This accelerates the production process and enables manufacture of external and visible components of outstanding surface quality.