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Ideas exchange at closed moulding technology clinic

19 August 2013

Some 40 industry members, representing more than 30 organisations, attended the August 2013 technology clinic for composite practitioners wanting to explore closed moulding technologies.

The event, hosted by Ken Freeman, Managing Director of Tricomposites, at the company’s Laverton North (Victoria) plant, explored efficiencies; choices in equipment and material inputs; and, considerations on complexity of part shapes and expected volumes.

delegates view a demonstration on closed moulding at the Tricomposites plant

The clinic, organised by Composites Australia at Ken’s instigation, proved to be a valuable opportunity for composite practitioners to consider closed moulding technologies as well as exchange ideas and experiences.

Ken, whose company produces composite components for Australian caravan manufacturer Jayco, quoted the Jayco  “mantra”:  get your inputs right, get your processes right, and measure everything.  Further learning from Jayco was the need for consistency of parts – elimination of variability.

Clearly a great place to start discussions on the specific attributes of closed moulding processes and how they can result in tangible benefits for manufacturers.These benefits include:

  • higher levels of quality control; improved surface finish – both sides
  • enhanced cost control; more reproducible parts; improved shop conditions – cleaner with less VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • lower employee attrition rates
  • more effective training, as the science of closed moulding replaces the “art” of open mould processing.

Discussion points included:

  • tooling costs
  • investing in tooling expertise
  • speed of loading moulds
  • process fragmentation
  • technology employed to match production volumes
  • skill requirements

The highlight of the event was the tour of the Tricomposites production facility.  Ken and his staff generously shared their experiences and ensured the value of the clinic.

View our calendar of Upcoming Composite Australia events.