A new in-mold painting process for long-glass reinforced polyurethane composite parts for cars, trucks, buses, and agricultural machinery was recently introduced by Germany’s KraussMaffei (U.S. headquarters in Florence, Ky.). With this in-mold painting approach, developed to produce smooth surfaces with the company’s LFI (long fiber injection) process, a paint layer is sprayed directly on the surface of the open mold. A barrier coat is then sprayed on top of the paint. The LFI layer, in which continuous glass is chopped inside the mixhead, is poured into the mold, which is then closed and clamped. High-strength parts with a high-gloss surface are said to result. The barrier coat prevents glass fibers or honeycomb cores from “printing through” the paint. In the past, the most widely used method for applying a high-quality surface to an LFI part was to pour the PUR/glass mix onto a thermoformed film inserted into the mold. The company views the new process as an attractive alternative for projects with relatively small production volumes or with a large number of color variants. Its first commercial application is tractor engine covers molded at India’s Harita Seating Systems Ltd. KraussMaffei produces the molds at its Competence Center for Tooling Technologies in Viersen, Germany. KraussMaffei also suggests a variant of this process for processors who already operate a paint line for post-mold finishing. In such cases, only the barrier coat would be sprayed on the mold before the glass/PUR mix. (859) 283-0200 • www.kraussmaffei.com
Reaction Process Machinery
7095 Industrial Rd. Florence, KY 41042-2930
Phone (606) 283-0200 Fax (606) 283-0311
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