Metal Faced Flexible Composite Tooling (MFCT)
After years of research by Morganic Solutions, a versatile and effective metal faced composite tool has now been fully developed that allows far easier initiation of tooling by the elimination of elaborate machining. It also provides total thermal compatibility with flexibility and the possibility of much larger, more complex moulds.
Until now, there had been numerous attempts to produce a metal face on a composite mould tool, but with no real success.
Plating of the mould face was tried on many previous occasions, but the metal shim invariably came away with the moulded part, regardless of how good the release agents were and with the problem being particularly noticeable when moulds were repeatedly passed through an autoclave.
The use of machined aluminium moulds, with their inevitable thermal mismatch, requires design concessions to allow removal of the cured part, due to contraction of the metal on cooling from cure temperatures. Also the machining of aluminium billets limits the size of a component, with several parts being required to make up a single, large component. There is now, finally, a true and extremely versatile alternative.
Morganic Metal Solutions can produce large, (currently up to 1800mm x 450mm x 450mm and increasing) single piece moulds in carbon fibre, metal faced in Nano Crystalline Copper with a Nickel or Nickel/Chrome finish as an integral part of the structure. This means that it will not separate from the mould - even with repeated use.
Nano Crystalline Copper has a crystal structure of 35-45 nanometres, giving it mechanical properties closer to those of mild steel than those normally associated with copper or any of its alloys, and a metal surface that is fully conformal and precise to tolerance .
The resultant moulds can be flexed to varying degrees or, as required, in specific areas only. This means that even perfect right angles can be removed readily and "returns" can also be "popped" out with no deterioration of the mould itself. Additionally, any required texture can be provided on the face of the mould without the need for additional machining, and to a remarkable level of detail.
This is a rapid process, generally taking no more than 7-10 working days to complete. The masters onto which the mould surface is grown can be produced by virtually any means, typically a variation of Rapid Prototyping / Additive Layer Manufacturing, using "Lego like" connecting blocks to create a form that is larger than the capacity of the RP source machine.
Benefits in summary:
- Full thermal compatibility
- Non - degradable metal surface
- Varying and selective flexibility
- Total texture or image incorporation
- Much larger components in one shot
- Easy removal of "returns"
Metal Faced Flexible Composite Tooling (MFCT) (PDF)