This presentation will compare the use of a vacuum table with built-in heat and a silicone membrane, to conventional composite lay-ups using vacuum film, blankets and hot bonder or auto-clave. The silicone membrane seals more easily, is more durable than film, and it’s elasticity conforms to complex surfaces without wrinkles. When used in a quick turn-around production setting, the amount of consumable materials is greatly reduced, and backlogs of parts waiting to be loaded into an auto-clave is eliminated. Throughput is increased and cost per part reduced over the lifespan of the equipment. Heated vacuum tables are used for production composite curing, composite repair, adhesive drying and product development. Application reports citing uses from custom prepreg part manufacturing to large scale production of composite materials will be presented. One manufacturer processes a highly contoured panel which could not be made using conventional methods. Examples of other applications such as adhesive bonding and silicone curing will also be discussed. A video included in the presentation demonstrates basic operation and production use of the vacuum table.
- Conceptualize use of a vacuum table to increase speed of composite processing
- Demonstrate ease of operation of a vacuum table
- List various applications where vacuum tables can be used in research and production
Why Is It Important?
Today’s manufacturing companies are constantly trying to find innovative production methods that save time, improve quality and reduce cost. The use of a vacuum table capable of heating and debulking composite parts in one step reduces set up time and provides superior debulking when conforming to complex shapes.