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• Compression molding is the oldest mass production process for polymer products. • The main reason for this choice of process in this case gives a clue to one of the features of the process, namely the low level of orientation in the moldings. • Compression molding is simple, discontinuous technique using a mold inserted between heated metal platen in a hydraulic press (Figure 1 and 2). • The polymer compound is molten in the heat mold and kept under pressure to fill the mold completely.
Department of Chemical Engineering Silpakorn University
• In the case of a thermoplastic compound the whole package has to be cooled under pressure before the article can be ejected from the mold. • This is very impractical and is only applied for single productions in the laboratory. • However, for thermosetting compounds, cooling is not necessary for ejection of the article as it has already solidified at the processing temperature due to strong crosslinking.
• It will be clear that temperature and pressure are critical variables determining the cycle time and the quality of the article. • Complete filling of the mold during crosslinking is rather tricky, but nevertheless compression molding is very often used for processing of thermosetting resins. • The same holds for the production of certain rubber articles although the degree of crosslinking should remain much lower in order to preserve the desired elasticity.
the chemical cure then then occurs as the internal mould temperature becomes high enough. usually by hand. 2. The mold is held between the heated platens of the hydraulic press. cooling takes place. Figure 2 : Compression molding machine. 5. 2 . and the mould placed in the press. The press closes with sufficient pressure to prevent or minimize flash at the mold part line. 1. Compression Molding Process (continue) Process description • The principle of the compression moulding process can be outlined as follows. 4.Compression Molding Machine (continue) Compression Molding Machine Figure 1 : Compression molding machine. Compression Molding Process Process description • The principle of the compression molding process can be outlined as follows. If necessary. The compound softens and flows to shape. 3. A prepared quality of molding compound is placed in the mould. although for the vast majority of thermosets this is not needed.
• Control of cycles and temperatures was manual. • In the same way. where wages depended on piecework output it was not unknown for quantity to be regarded as more important than quality. It is reloaded with a fresh charge before returning it to the press to commence another cycle. the mould is removed from the press and opened on the bench to extract the molding. hydraulic pressure was observed manually. The press is opened and the molding removed. as described above. Frequency. pressure were steam heated and steam pressure as indicated by a gauge on the press was the only temperature control. Figure 3 : Compression molding process. in such cases the working specification would include a required steam pressure but these could be notoriously difficult to control with any degree of accuracy. with reliance on simple clocks and at best a surface pyrometer for judging platen temperatures. 3 . 6. and many such presses are still in operation. Presses and molds • Often. Such processes relied heavily on the skill and reliability of the operator. Compression Molding Process (continue) Compression Moulding Process (continue) Presses and molds • The original process was essentially manual. with loose moulds.Compression Molding Process (continue) Compression Molding Process (continue) Process description • The principle of the compression molding process can be outlined as follows.
mechanical mould filling and extraction is used. which depicts a simple manually operated press for clarity. Figure 4 : Compression molding press. several presses can be supervised by one skilled operative. as shown in Figure 5. they allow important improvements in productivity. Compression Molding Process Presses and molds (continue) Compression Molding Process Presses and molds (continue) • Three classifications of mold are identified. Presses can be up-stroking or down stroking. The positive mold takes all the applied pressure: there is insufficient clearance to allow material to escape. electrical proportionally controlled heaters and auto-controlled hydraulics. Figure 5 : (1) Positive mold . 4 .Compression Molding Process (continue) Compression Molding Process (continue) Presses and molds • The modern press has automated cycles. and the work becomes less manual and more technically challenging. Presses and molds • The operation becomes more a technician than a manual worker. • The principle of the press is shown in Figure 4. • In many cases. as already stated. • However. when used in a well designed shop. many old pressure still operate. (c) Flash mold. (b) Semipositive mold. according to which platen is moving one. The advent of such modern pressure was slowindeed.