Water flow controllers and compact TCU for fast mold cooling in heat/cool and TP composites molding.

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RocTool, the French specialist in rapid induction heating of tools for injection and composites molding (U.S. office in Charlotte, N.C.), has come out with a new series of water-cooling units. These units are designed for rapid cooldown of molds for heat-and-cool (“variotherm”) injection molding or composites fabrication. Up to now, RocTool has supplied only the R-Micro temperature-control unit (TCU) for cooling the generators of its induction heating system.

As explained by RocTool CEO Mathieu Boulanger and Jean-François Martinez, manager for systems and peripherals, the firm initially concentrated on its heating technology, but increasing volume of customer inquiries prompted the development of RocTool’s own line of water-cooling units for molds. They said customers were finding that standard chillers and TCUs on the market were limited in capacity and prevented them from taking full advantage of the rapid heating capability of RocTool’s induction system. For heat/cool molding to achieve high-quality surface finish, rapid alternation between heating and cooling is essential to minimize cycle time. And in composites compression molding, very high temperatures are required for consolidation of thermoplastic prepregs, so a lot of cooling capacity is required to maximize quality and productivity.

RocTool’s new C series units are flow controllers that provide higher flow volume and pressure on demand than conventional chillers or TCUs. New model C2V, for instance, provides 100 L/min at up to 4 bar; larger units are models C6, C12, and C24. These units alternate between providing water at laminar flow during the mold-heating stage, and rapidly accelerating flow to a turbulent state when cooling is required. And for composites molding, higher mold temperatures require purging water from the cooling channels during the heating stage. The C-series can automatically purge the water channels with compressed air at the start of each heating cycle.

Another new unit is the T9; this is a full TCU of compact design. It offers 140 kW of heat-removal capacity, whereas standard equipment does not exceed 40 kW, according to RocTool. For heat/cool molding, the T9 would be coupled to a C-series flow regulator. All the new units are controlled from RocTool’s touchscreen interface for induction heating.