Albany Engineered Composites (AEC) has placed considerable emphasis on the development of in-house resin transfer molding for the fabrication of high performance structural composites. Resin transfer molding produces parts to net shape with good surface finish, low void content and required levels of fiber volume. Raw material costs for the resin transfer molding process are significantly lower than those associated with pre-impregnated materials. Being a "closed mold" process capable of automation, resin transfer molding does not pose the health and environmental risks associated with traditional methods of resin impregnation.
Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) is a logical choice for the impregnation of dry fiber preforms. Braided preforms can be held in inventory indefinitely without concern for resin out-times and cure schedules. As separate processes, braiding and RTM schedules can be designed for optimum production rates. The RTM production area can be configured to operate a variety of molds simultaneously to accommodate the diversity of preforms being produced by the braiding operation.
AEC utilizes a variety of resins (for example, epoxy, BMI, Phenolic Triazine) for the RTM process and has the capability to process resins which provide service temperatures of up to 600°F.
The use of process controls aids in the assurance of quality in molded parts at AEC. Meter-mix-dispense equipment eliminates hand mixing and injection procedures. Programmable temperature controllers regulate the changes in temperature required for successful RTM processing. Thermal chart recorders are employed to provide processing traceability to ensure high quality molded composite parts.