A dual heating system can be utilized to assist with heat up times from ambient temperatures. In some cases this could be oil heating while augmenting specific locations with electric heat.
While heating does pose some challenges, the real name of the game (once the tool is up to temperature) is cooling. Cooling is where you can reduce cycles times. Some applications involve using oil to cool the tool. In some cases oil cooling is not enough and other systems are also used, such as spray cooling.
One way to heat up the tool more quickly and uniformly while also being able to cool quickly is to implement Isobar heat pipes into the tool. Isobars will assist with heating up the tool no matter which type of technology is used, while also assisting with cooling.
In order to achieve uniform mold temperature, the temperature of each half of the mold must be the same (within ±3°C (5°F)) for all locations when the mold is heated by steam or oil. Molds heated by electric cartridge heaters may vary by as much as 6°C (10°F). Isobars ensure temperature uniformity, resulting in a mold that will fill easier, produce parts that are less likely to warp, and improve dimensional stability and uniform surface appearance.
A mold that is heated by oil or steam will maintain uniform mold temperature because the heat source stays at a constant temperature. However, oil as a source of heat, is only half as efficient as steam. This means that, when heating a mold with oil, it is necessary to set the oil temperature higher than the required mold temperature.
Electrically heated molds, on the other hand, are more difficult to maintain at a consistent temperature because cartridge heaters constantly cycle on and off. Acrolab’s Isobar Heat Transfer System delivers a highly effective and efficient method of energy distribution uniformly throughout the mold and assists with both uniform heating and cooling the mold.
Acrolab provides engineering services to our clients, working hand-in-hand to make special projects a reality. Regardless of the challenge, Acrolab will assist your design team with all aspects of the project from concept development to product design and prototype build. As a one-stop shop, Acrolab can provide a turn-key solution for your process needs, including the processing platform, control panel and auxiliary equipment including heaters, sensors and cables.
The use of Isobar heat pipes in the production of large composite parts (In-Autoclave) demonstrated a significant improvement in the manufacturing process by reducing cycle time by up to 50% while also increasing product quality. The entire process was monitored throughout and a quantitative assessment determined that improvements, specifically related to product quality and cycle time, were remarkable and repeatable. Contact Acrolab’s engineering team to discuss how we can improve your processing challenges.
Acrolab’s engineering team anticipated that the maximum operating temperature required for the heater would be a limitation with this new design. The heaters were tested and we confirmed that the multi-zone design was effective with respect to wattage distribution, however operating temperature was limited.