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Compression molding requires precise pressure, position, speed control, and parallelism throughout the working stroke. Hydraulic presses can dwell under pressure for any length of time, vary ram speeds, and provide a constant force over a large area, which are precisely the press characteristics compression molding requires.
One of the growing market segments for custom hydraulic presses is within compression molding. Many components that historically were fabricated from metals are now being made from composites. Compression Molding is a way to mold material, often using heat to cure the material while under pressure. The material can be preheated and placed in a heated mold cavity (often heated via heated platens on a press) to a set temperature. The mold is closed with the material inside, pressure is applied to force the material together with all mold areas, and heat and pressure are maintained (to varying degrees) until the molding material has cured.
Compression molding is the main process for thermoset resins in a partially cured stage. It is a high-volume, high-pressure method suitable for molding complex, high-strength fiberglass reinforcements, among many other materials. Compression molding is able to mold large, fairly intricate parts for a variety of industries. Advanced composite thermoplastics can also be compression molded and the process produces fewer knit lines and less fiber-length degradation than injection molding.
A large majority of compression molding applications require large bed sizes but comparatively low tonnage. The ability to easily customize a hydraulic press assures that the purchaser need only purchase the press capacity they require, versus whatever is standard with a larger bed size.
Beckwood's custom compression molding presses are designed with the ability to be integrated into any molding application by offering a wide variety of performance packages for your needs. Hydraulic press improvements engineered to optimize the compression molding process include control of ancillary process equipment, actuation of internal die components (such as core knockouts, ejectors, and punches), and up-acting or multiple-action rams. Precision-heated platen integration with customer-specified heating tolerances and die controls are common, as are multi-cavity presses featuring multiple daylights for increased productivity.
All Beckwood Presses can be designed with the ability to dwell under pressure, have variable ram speeds and provide a constant force over a large area. Additional features such as double and triple action rams and part ejection systems can be incorporated into a fully integrated press system.
Click here for a sample of our compression molding press examples.