IBEX 365 News
Innovations in Resin Infusion
Airtech has been synonymous with vacuum bagging for almost fifty years. Founded by Bill Dahlgren in 1973, Airtech has led the industry in the development of new materials to support the ever-growing composites business. Market segments include aerospace, wind energy, marine, automotive, general composites, and printed circuit boards. Since the early development efforts in SCRIMP, VARTM, or just resin infusion, Airtech has worked alongside our customers to provide innovative, labor-saving vacuum bagging consumables that improve quality, lower processing costs, and reduce material waste.
Over the years, the physical size of the parts made using infusion processes have grown dramatically. In response, the widths of Airtech’s bagging films have increased, too. Our high-performance films such as Securlon® L500Y, Ipplon® KM1300, and “Big Blue” BB L100 are available in 26.25ft, 29.5ft, and 52.5ft widths, respectively. These wide format rolls allow for fewer seams, which equates to less labor time on the shop floor and fewer opportunities to leak at seamed locations. Trends in resin infusion bagging are moving toward low-profile resin feed lines. That provides the opportunity to simplify the bagging operation by eliminating pleats, which lowers touch labor and reduces the potential for leaks at the sealant tape line at the end of the pleat.
To meet this requirement, Airtech now offers Flowstrip, Flowstrip PP4, Flowstrip PP4 Max. These products are flat or low profile with good to superior flow rates. Airtech also offers more traditional methods of introducing resin into the part in easy-to-use pre-sewn constructions. Those include Flowrunner KF160 and Flowrunner PP2. All the products above buy their way into composite shops by offering significant labor savings.
Another area of innovation involves the use of semipermeable membrane technology. Airtech’s Dahltexx product line marries the membrane to a peel ply, which allows air and volatiles to escape while keeping the resin in the part. Two versions, Dahltexx-SP2 and Dahltex-SP3, offer Z-axis or ‘all over’ breathing, eliminating opportunities for dry spots. Both Dahltexx materials also appear in various sewn constructions that are essentially resin proof vacuum manifolds. Dahlvac MB80 and Dahlvac RC Vac Hose are intended to be used for perimeter breathing while Dahlpac MC79 can be used anywhere under the bag to provide vacuum locally. The semipermeable membrane technology prevents resin flooding and reduces costs through the elimination of multiple products and lower touch labor.
Airtech’s ComboTech technology provides layered constructions of peel ply, release films, flow media, and breather so that an entire stack up of materials can be applied at once. With some versions up to two meters wide, ComboTech reduces labor time and material waste. Some examples include Flowlease 75-37P16, Flowlease 160-37P16, and Flowlease 160-PP200. Flowlease 75-37P16 and Flowlease 160-37P16 are flow media combined with a perforated release film. Flowlease 160-PP200 is a flow media combined with a calendared polypropylene non-woven. The PP200 polypropylene non-woven serves as a peel ply in this combination and provides a bondable surface after removal. These examples are just a few of the many versions available; any combination of materials offered by Airtech can be combined into a ComboTech product.
Whether you’re a large company with many years of resin infusion experience, or just getting started with a home project or new business, Airtech can support your efforts with technical support, product samples, and many many videos on our YouTube page. We even offer a Resin Infusion “Starter Kit” with everything you would need to bag a part and get some hands-on experience.
These are just a few of the developments that Airtech has brought to market to make our customer more competitive. Consult with your local Airtech account manager or the Airtech technical service team to learn more.