WINONA, MINN., USA – PlastiComp, Inc. has installed and commissioned a patent-pending manufacturing line for extruding Long Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) pipes, beams, and other structural profiles. The crosshead profile-dies used are designed to co-extrude fiber tows or unidirectional tapes as continuous axial reinforcement in the extruding profile. Polymer is delivered from a 3.5 inch extruder, providing potential profile outputs up to 800 pounds per hour, depending upon profile thickness and reinforcing fiber content. In two initial development applications, 2-inch wide rectangular beams and 6-inch diameter tubes were co-extruded with unidirectional glass-fiber tapes as the axial reinforcement. The matrix materials of these beams and tubes were long glass-fiber polyethylene (PE) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) compounds, whose composition was specific to the in-use load profile and other material considerations. Possible matrices include any melt processable polymer.
The addition of extrusion manufacturing complements PlastiComp’s goal of expanding manufacturing options and form-factors of fiber-reinforced thermoplastics for its customers. PlastiComp also acquired a 50,000 ft2 facility to showcase and expand on such novel manufacturing technologies. In addition to its independent process & product development, PlastiComp will also partner with customers to develop application-specific, extruded-forms and respective material compositions and fiber architecture. The customer programs are fully supported with in-house computer aided engineering (CAE) capabilities that integrate part & tool design, material-selection, and manufacturing.
Deploying a partnership philosophy combined with a fully integrated approach to application development, PlastiComp focuses its expertise on moving innovative long fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite technology into new markets and applications by applying long fiber’s stronger, tougher, and lighter capabilities to make products better. Ready to process Complēt® composite pellets for injection molding provide made to order performance by incorporating long carbon, glass, or specialty fibers with thermoplastic polymers ranging from polypropylene to PEEK for application specific structural material solutions.