IPCO, the world’s leading manufacturer of double belt presses for the production of composite materials, has completed commissioning of a steel belt-based pilot press at its 1600 sq.m. Productivity Center in Göppingen, Germany. The system, a ThermoPress SB (steel belt) press, was put through its paces on customer trails for the first time in September 2021.
IPCO is the only double belt press manufacturer capable of supplying systems based on steel belts, Teflon® belts or a combination of the two, and the pilot SB line joins existing ThermoPress TB and CB units to complete the set now available at the company’s dedicated test and demo center near Stuttgart.
The new unit, 16.5 m long and featuring 1200 mm wide steel belts, will enable IPCO and its partners and customers to co-operate in the research and development of thermoplastic composite materials and produce prototypes close to production size. This in turn provides the accurate process data needed to design high productivity commercial-scale solutions.
The pilot ThermoPress SB line is modular in design for maximum flexibility, this one consisting of four interchangeable and combinable modules. Process testing parameters include temperatures up to 400 oC, and pressure up to 20 bar. The system is equipped with the latest measurement and control technology.
A full range of processes can be assessed at IPCO’s test facility, from pressing, lamination and impregnation, to cooling and tempering. Applications include consolidation of pre-laminated sheets and impregnation of fibers with resin. Resin can also be applied in powder, film or liquid form onto a non-woven or felt material.
Complementing these processes, IPCO manufactures high precision scattering equipment – the ScatterPro range – which can be incorporated into production lines to scatter powder, granulate or fibers.
Frank Maué is Global Product Manager for Composites Solutions at IPCO Germany GmbH: “With a full set of pilot units, we have the tools to help customers develop the natural fiber and bio-based thermoplastic composites that the automotive, electronics and paper industries are looking for.”
“By taking a partnership approach, we can optimize our ThermoPress and ScatterPro systems to deliver modular solutions tailored to specific needs and budgets.”