Processing equipment

The adaptive mould

Curve Works uses a reconfigurable tool, or adaptive mould, to create double curved shapes from 3D drawings with a high surface quality, fast and efficiently. The digitally adjustable surface is a pin-based-mechanism for generating 3D surfaces from a computer aided design (CAD) input. A rubber interpolation layer on top of the pins allow a smooth free-formed surface.

The following specifications apply to the adaptive mould:

Temperature range: We can process and cure materials up to 180oC
Accuracy: Singly curved and shallow doubly curved shapes within ±1mm, complex doubly surfaces within ±2mm. Higher accuracies are being developed
Geometric constraints: The minimum radius of curvature for single curved shapes is currently 400mm, which means that shapes having a similar of larger curvature will fulfill the criteria for moulding. The minimum radius of curvature increases for doubly curved shapes and is dependent on the complexity of the product.
Sizes: Typically up to 3.60 x 1.56 m. Larger sizes are also possible depending on shape.

 

 Our reconfigurable pin-based mechanism with deformable membrane allows forming of the following materials:

  • Fibre reinforced plastics
  • Thermoplastics
  • Solid surfaces
  • Fibre reinforced gypsum

into singly and doubly curved panels. In addition, we are able to perform vacuum infusion of fibre reinforced plastics.

 

Heating capabilities

We have a number of heating possibilities at Curve Works:

  • Surrounding the adaptive mould, we have built a large 30 kW oven for thermoforming and (post-) curing of panels. The oven is 6.25 x 3.5 x 2.0 m and can be opened and closed from the sides and ceiling. In this way we have  full access to the mould and can heat the panels in-situ.
  • A stand alone convection heating oven, or hot box, for preheating thermoplastic, reinforced thermoplastic and foam core panels. The hot box is 4.0 x 2.0 x 0.4 m and can go up to 180°C.
  • Surface heating blankets for on-the-mould heating, capable of reaching 200°C.
  • An infra-red heating panel for thermoforming purposes.
  • Panel of Ultra-Violet (UV) lights for extra fast curing of special resins. 

 

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