Improving Polymer Processing Techniques
CRP Ltd worked with the University of Bradford’s Faculty of Engineering and Informatics on this Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). The focus of the project was the polymer perfluoroalkoxy (PFA). PFA is a melt processable fluoropolymer, principally comprising carbon and fluorine atoms in a molecular chain. This structure gives the material its exceptional corrosion resisting properties, but also results in its challenging processing characteristics. The project aim was to gain an enhanced understanding of key process variables and to allow increasingly large and complex products to be manufactured.
The pot moulding process for PFA was instrumented so that data could be recorded to understand why moulded parts were failing. This data informed modifications in the moulding process to improve product flow and ensure the parts created passed product testing standards. Material flow characterisation and flow processes were documented for the revised process and shared with staff, leading to much greater knowledge of PFA processing techniques.
“Part of the company’s strategy has been to develop its PFA moulding capability to allow it to manufacture both larger and more complex components. The KTP fits directly into this strategic aim.”
David MacGregor, Engineering Manager, CRP Ltd.
The KTP has enhanced CRP’s abilities in PFA moulding to allow it to mould both larger and more complex components, making it more competitive in an international market.
The company now have a greater understanding of PFA processing, the width of PFA’s processing envelope, how long it takes to heat PFA prior to production, and how to melt large quantities of the polymer.