NEED TO KNOW
Thermoset compounds are up to 35% lighter than steel parts of equal strength.
IDI Composites International (Noblesville, IN; www.idicomposites.com) has formed a metal conversion project support team with the purpose of assisting OEMs in identifying applications that could experience improved performance and higher manufacturing efficiency by converting from traditional metals to thermoset compounds. The new team will operate out of the company’s headquarters.
The company, a manufacturer of polyester- and vinylester-based thermoset bulk-molding and sheet-molding compounds (BMCs and SMCs), is headquartered in a 200,000-sq ft manufacturing and research facility. Engineers assigned to the metal conversion project were chosen based specifically on their chemistry experience and past efforts in helping customers convert from metals, according to the company. Previous conversion projects have involved helping customers replace die-cast aluminum and zinc and cast-iron parts.
Thermoset compounds provide electrical insulation; withstand x-ray radiation, high-temperature sterilization, and harsh cleaning solvents; and are up to 35% lighter than steel parts of equal strength, according to the company. BMCs are thermoset resin blends of various inert fillers, reinforcement fibers, catalysts, stabilizers, and pigments that form a viscous substance suitable for compression or injection molding. SMCs are similar to BMCs, but are the preferred choice when higher mechanical strengths are required. Medical device applications for both compounds include equipment housings, biohazard containers, and components in patient-care instruments.
IDI Composites also runs wholly owned facilities in Europe and Asia and offers R&D services intended to help OEMs select and formulate materials for their applications.