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Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a US and world leader in the research and development of economical green energy solutions. They are the largest US Department of Energy laboratory and are tasked to continually create innovative solutions to some of the most significant science and energy problems facing the world today. ORNL is currently exploring "lightweighting" techniques to be used in the automotive and aerospace industries. To accomplish their research they needed a compressoin molding press to form various composite materials.
Beckwood knew that because the press was going to be used for R&D, it needed to be incredibly versatile and have the ability to collect data for a wide range of variables. Additionally, process repeatability and precision controls were critical for accurate experimentation and measurement.
Beckwood developed a custom 100-ton compression molding press with a 36”x36” work area, multizone heated platens, precision control capability and robust data collection.
Beckwood’s Multi-Zone heat control technology ensures uniform heating (to +5F) across the entire platen surface while gun-drilled channels in the platens create a serpentine flow for rapid platen cooling. The ram platen’s pressure and position are precisely controlled via a Delta High Speed Motion Controller and measured using linear and pressure transducers. With the Data Acquisition function, the press can collect and export time, temperature, pressure and position readings at a rate of 1 per second.
With the new Beckwood compression molding (hot forming) press ORNL has been able to experiment with many newly developed composite materials - which will ultimately aid in the lightweighting of both aerospace and automotive parts.
“It is our goal to make this lab the intersection of our 3D printing capabilities and composites processing,” said Jesse Smith, Manager of Industrial Partnerships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “The new Composites Lab is a showplace for the industry, and Beckwood’s press is an important tool for us.”