Munich, Germany - KraussMaffei is offering a new inmould painting process for producing LFI parts with high-gloss surfaces.
A paint layer is sprayed directly onto the mould surface, followed by a barrier coat sprayed on top of the paint. Then the LFI layer is poured in and the mould is closed and clamped. Munich-based plastics machinery group , Krauss-Maffei said the result is a "high-strength, fibre-reinforced part with an outstanding high-gloss surface."
Already this new painting process is in use at Harita Seating Systems Ltd, in Hosur in India, for tractor engine covers, said the company. Harita makes engine covers for a leading tractor manufacturer, and initially the tractors will be marketed in India, but will later be exported to Europe.
In the LFI process, the long glass reinforcing fibres are wetted with the polyurethane in the mixing head itself. The method allows manufacturers to base parts on low-cost rovings rather than preformed glass mat, Krauss-Maffei points out.
Previously, to apply a high-quality surface to an LFI part, a thermoformed film was inserted in the mould prior to adding the PU/glassfibre backing.
The new barrier coat process is "an attractive alternative, especially for projects with relatively small production volumes or with a large number of colour variants," said Krauss-Maffei.