Heraeus Infra-Red Heating System Speeds Up Adhesive Curing on Vacuum Presses

Fast response, medium wave infra-red emitters from Heraeus Noblelight are being used on equipment manufactured by JSK Ultrasonics of Milton Keynes to ensure the correct permanent bonding of an adhesive, even at high operational temperatures. JSK vacuum presses are used to produce wrappings in various shapes and sizes, in leather, fabric or pvc. These are predominantly used within the vehicle interior trim industry, where they find application as headliners, door boards, centre consoles, glove box covers, arm rests etc.JSK offers a wide range of expertise in the design and build of joining and automation solutions for a wide range of industry sectors Its state-of-the-art vacuum presses use a high strength membrane system that results in a uniform pressure being applied to the component to ensure a high quality consistent finish. These presses are ideal for forming, laminating and veneering components with curved, shaped or angular surfaces.

In operation, the pre-cut trim is sprayed with adhesive, wrapped and edge folded. It is then located on the vacuum press base tooling and the membrane frame is closed over the component to be wrapped. A vacuum pressure is then applied to the membrane to ensure that the trim follows exactly the contour of the component. Heat is then applied through the membrane to activate the adhesive. The adhesive used is a high performance reactive formulation, which maintains its post process cross linkage, even in extreme environmental conditions, eliminating the possibility of any delamination of the trim assembly.

The heat to activate the adhesive was formerly applied using a warm air convection oven but this could take around sixteen minutes. To speed up the process, JSK contacted Heraeus who supplied the fast response medium wave system, which now effects a complete and reliable adhesive cure in less than 60 seconds. To allow flexibility in handling various products, the system, which forms an integral part of the press, consists of two infra-red zones, one featuring 5kW emitters of 102 cm heated length and one with 7.35kW emitters of 150 cm heated length. Both zones are PID controlled and are fitted with ruby anti-glare coating and an integral gold reflector to ensure optimum heat radiation onto and through the membrane.

“The infra-red heating means that the adhesive activation process is now much faster and more efficient,” says Steve Hinds, Technical Director at JSK. “In addition, the fast response system means that we enjoy considerable energy saving, as the heat is applied only when needed, while the infra-red solution is much more compact than a convection oven.”

Heraeus specialises in the production and application of high quality energy sources covering the electro-magnetic spectrum from ultraviolet to infra-red. It has over 40 years experience in infra-red technology and offers the expertise, products and systems to provide efficient and effective solutions to drying, heating and curing problems throughout industry.

Visit Website: www.heraeus-noblelight.com

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