Addressing the Needs of the Slush Molding Process
Slush molding, a form of rotational molding, is a process that is very familiar to Chem-Trend. Our experience in the field has allowed us to develop a range of products specific to its challenges. The slush molding process enables thermoplastic products to be manufactured with very detailed and often complex shapes. A prime application for this process is the manufacture of vehicle dashboard “skins” that are ultimately back-filled with a foam system, providing the finished product with the necessary rigidity. The rotational technique allows parts to be made with a single “cosmetic” side. It can also be used to make hollow parts, if necessary.
A variety of materials can be processed using this technique, but most often polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and thermoplastic polyolefins (TPO) are employed, depending upon the final performance specification. The actual molding material may be a plastisol or a powder. This material is charged into the mold; then the mold is “tumbled” while, at the same time, its temperature is elevated. The process encourages the molding material to form a skin on the mold surface, which then becomes the molded part. Once the part is fully formed, the mold is cooled and the part can be peeled from the surface of the mold. The mold surface will mainly dictate both the texture and the appearance of the molded skin, but both details are strongly influenced by the mold release agent that is employed.
Chem-Trend manufactures a complete range of products for the molding of TPU, TPO and PVC products that are used in slush molding. They come in either water-based or solvent-based options, depending upon customer preference and/or prevailing molding conditions or regulations.
The Role of Release Agents
For the slush molding process, the mold release agent needs to be formulated with special features, such as the ability to:
- release the “skin” effectively, ensuring that there is no stretching during de-molding
- be applied to a mold surface that is either at – or just above – room temperature without forming runs or drips
- dry evenly with no gloss variations in the surface
- maintain the gloss level specified by the customer
- produce multiple releases as required
- exhibit no contaminating transfer that could affect the skin surface appearance
- not interfere with post-molding operations
- remain stable at elevated temperatures
- aid in preventing build-up on the mold over long periods of time
- protect the mold surface so that it cleans easily when pulled from operation
Chem-Trend manufactures mold release agents that possess all of these attributes, enabling trouble-free slush molding production for extended periods. We have developed both solvent-based and water based products to help our customers meet their particular needs. Most often, solvent-based mold release agents are used because they are highly suited to the slush molding process, as it is often necessary to apply the product to a mold surface that is either at, or close to, ambient temperature. However, our water-based products for this process have been specially formulated with polymers that can “set” on the mold at low temperatures and do not contribute significant contamination transfer to the molded part.
Add Value to Your Operation
When you purchase Chem-Trend products for slush molding you get much more than our industry leading technologies. You gain access to our experienced network of industry professionals who are committed to providing the right products for your application. Our long history of direct experience on the production floors of our customers means that we can help you optimize your mold release processes to improve your bottom line. Our sales and technical service experts become a valued resource by helping our customers to discover ways to increase productivity, reduce scrap and improve finished product quality and consistency.
Contact us and let us prove to you that we can increase your efficiency and lower the costs of your slush molding operations.