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#Product Trends

Sheet Molding Compound:

a suggestion from automotive industry

Sheet moulding compound (SMC) is one of the most widely used forms of composite material in the automotive industry. SMC is manufactured by dispersing long strands (usually >1”) of chopped carbon fibres on a bath of thermoset resins. Typical applications include demanding electrical applications, corrosion resistant needs, structural components at low cost, automotive, Aerospace, and Transport. Let’s take a look of its production process: a measured amount of specified resin paste is deployed onto a plastic carrier film. This carrier film passes under a chopper which cuts the fibres onto the surface. Once these have drifted through the depth of resin paste, another sheet is added on top. The sheets are compacted and then enter onto a take-up roll, which is used to store the product whilst it matures. The carrier film is then later removed and the material is cut into charges. The shape of these charges is determined by the steel die which it is then added to. Heat and pressure act on the charge and once fully cured, this is then removed from the mould as the finished product. Compared to similar methods, SMC benefits from a very high volume production ability, excellent part reproducibility, it is cost-effective as low labour requirements per production level is very good and industry scrap is reduced substantially. Weight reduction, due to lower-dimensional requirements and because of the ability to consolidate many parts into one, is also advantageous. The level of flexibility also exceeds many counterpart processes.

Why we are talking about an automotive industry composite material?

Stay tuned!


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