Solutions to Challenges of Molding Using the Open Lay/Wet Resin Process
The open lay process is the simplest method of making a composite part. The part is made with a “cosmetic” surface, the one that is in contact with the mold, and a non-cosmetic surface, the one that is “open” to the air. Although the wet resin/open lay process is considered to be the least difficult composite molding process, it still poses challenges for the proper functioning of the release agent. Chem-Trend’s many years of experience working with composite molders is a key to our ability to understand and overcome the challenges.
Parts are mostly manufactured with a gel-coat as the cosmetic surface, but can be made with resin and textile only. The mold surface is reflected on the molded (cosmetic) part surface. Application of a release agent will not substantially change the appearance of the mold, and subsequently will not affect the cosmetic surface of the part being molded. Therefore, it is essential to prepare the mold surface to the level of “finish” required on the molded part. This entails proper cleaning and sealing of the mold to meet the finish level requirements.
Chem-Trend has been in the business of helping composite molders produce higher quality parts, more efficiently and with lower scrap for about three decades now. We understand the multiple challenges that are faced in molding composite parts. Our experience began with helping molders of advanced composites, and we then moved to supporting FPR composites. To further enhance our capabilities in support of our customers in the constantly evolving composites industry, we acquired the Chemlease® brand of high performance release agents and related products in 1998. With the additional products, technology and expertise that we gained through that acquisition we were able to expand and strengthen our range of mold release system technology to further support the composites industry around the world.
The Chemlease® Brand, Globally Recognized for Quality and Performance
In a composite operation, one consideration that must remain at the forefront of all activities is to protect the mold surface! The mold very often represents a significant investment and, if damaged, may require extensive repairs. This results in operational downtime and expense. Worse yet, it may result in having to make an entirely new mold. Either scenario involves significant costs as well as loss of operational efficiency. Our Chemlease® release systems have been developed to protect the significant investment you have in your molds. The systems consist of cleaners, primers, sealers and top-coats;
- Cleaner– Chemlease® cleaners are designed to remove all contaminants on a mold surface, even those remaining, should the mold have been treated with a purpose designed abrasive to remove any resin residues or previously used release agents.
- Sealer– Chemlease® sealers ensure that any micro porosity† in the mold surface is closed off allowing the subsequent coats of mold release agent to perform to their potential.
- Top-coat– Chemlease® semi-permanent top-coats have been designed to provide the molder with flexibility in both application technique and release characteristics to best suit their operational requirements:
- High or low slip depending upon the shape of the molded part
- Ultra-low slip if pre-release is a concern
- Wipe-on, wipe-off application method
- Wipe-on, leave-on application method
- Spray-on, leave-on application method
Our top coats allow all known molding resins and/or gel-coats to be applied to the mold without fear of fish-eyes occurring. Correct preparation of the mold ensures that the maximum number of releases can be accomplished between re-applications of the top-coat, while also ensuring that build-up on the mold surface is minimized.
A Lot More than Release Agents
When you purchase Chem-Trend’s Chemlease® products for composites molding you get a lot more than just products, you gain access to a worldwide support network of industry professionals committed to developing the right solutions for your application. Our long history in the industry, combined with our many years of experience on composite shop production floors, means that we can help you optimize your mold release application and cleaning processes to improve your bottom line. Our sales and technical service experts are available locally to support our customers, and their distributors, through a global network of offices. We also support our customers through our technical service and development laboratories located around the globe. It’s all part of our commitment to providing our customers with greater value, performance and dependability.