Processing equipment

The adaptive mould

Curve Works uses reconfigurable tools, or adaptive moulds, to create curved shapes from 3D drawings with a high surface quality, fast and efficiently. The digitally adjustable surface is a pin-bed mechanism with a rubber interpolation layer on top, allowing a smooth curved surface. The process from 3D drawing to shaped mould takes less than 4 minutes.

Our adaptive moulds are built to our specifications by Adapa A/S, a game changer in tooling.

We worked together with Adapa to achieve mould systems that is perfectly suited to process a broad range of composite materials. A laser projection system mounted above the mould allows us to define the part net-shape for trimming.

The adaptive mould technology also allows us to develop new processing techniques that would otherwise not be possible.

The following specifications apply to the adaptive moulds:

Temperature range:

Thermoform/cure materials up to 180oC

Accuracy:

Singly curved and shallow doubly curved shapes within ±1mm, complex doubly surfaces within ±2mm.

Geometric constraints:

The minimum radius of curvature for single curved shapes is  250mm, 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.

Panel size:Typically up to 3.60 x 1.56 m. Larger sizes are also possible depending on shape.

 

Heating and curing capabilities

We have a number of heating and curing equipment 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.
  • Two stand alone convection heating ovens, or hot boxes, for preheating thermoplastic, reinforced thermoplastic and foam core panels. The hot boxes are 4.0 x 2.0 x 0.4 m and can go up to 200°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. 

Processing of materials

With our processing equipment, we shape the following materials:

  • Fibre reinforced plastics
  • Thermoplastics
  • Solid surfaces (Corian, Hi-Macs, Betacryl)
  • Laminated wood

We use close-mould processes which are safer and more pleasant for our employees and the environment.