News in RIM & SRIM
Bayer AG (U.S. office in Pittsburgh) will showcase what is said to be the first heavy-equipment interior application for soft-touch RIM, which appears inside the cab of Caterpillar models 950, 966, and 980 front-end loaders. Caterpillar uses Bayer’s Baydur STR/F 651 PUR RIM system, which is reinforced with 15% glass mat to form HVAC enclosures with a soft feel similar to an automobile interior. In replacing an RTM composite of thermoset polyester and fiberglass, it reduces part weight by 50% and cuts cycle time significantly without sacrificing structural integrity.
The Cannon Group of Italy and Cranberry Township, Pa., will operate a new RIM system for lab use or small-volume production. It will mold thin (1-mm) skins for automotive parts such as liners for door panels, armrests, and dashboards.
New automotive applications for the LFI (Long-Fiber Injection) system will be highlighted by Krauss-Maffei Corp. (Florence, Ky.). LFI produces low-density SRIM structural composites without costly glass mats or preforms. Instead, long glass or other fiber is chopped directly in the mixhead. K-M will showcase components such as instrument panels and interior door trim that contain up to 50% glass, as well as new applications using natural fibers.
Gusmer Corp.’s Komo/Admiral Equipment Div. in Akron, Ohio, will display a pair of mixheads that are said to be the only recirculating spray mixheads on the market that are designed specifically for open-pour RIM. Both the new 13-mm RIMSpray mixhead and the 6-mm MiniRim spray mixhead introduced last year are hydraulically operated and self-cleaning.
New automotive foams
Bayer will feature auto parts made of new PUR foams designed for noise-vibration-harshness (NVH) abatement. These foams are injected into the side cavities and pillars of vehicle body shells on the assembly line. Bayfill NV foams are 1:1 MDI polyether formulations. They are said to be less costly and to require less product storage on-site than competing NVH foams from Dow Polyurethanes that use a 14:1 isocyanate/polyol ratio.
BASF’s Elastogran Div. (Wyandotte, Mich.) will feature new production technology for making low-fogging automotive foams with its Elastofoam PUR system.
Nitroil Performance Chemicals International (Houston) will feature new PC RACE (reactive-amine controlled-emissions) catalysts for automotive PUR foams. They reportedly cut VOC emissions from the foams to a minimum. Also featured will be new ready-to-use polyurea components: the PC DAX series for the reactive-amine side and the MD series for the isocyanate side.
Elastogran will show off SPS, a newly developed steel/PUR sandwich intended to replace steel in ship building.
Another new entry from Krauss-Maffei will be Star Trac, an overhead conveyor system for PUR mold carriers that simplifies using molds with different production cycles. It is said to minimize production stoppages for mold changes and makes for a clear and clean production floor.