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Enhanced surface appearance in long fiber reinforced polyamide composites

Long fiber thermoplastic (LFT) compounder PlastiComp, Inc. (Winona, MN) has unveiled the enhanced aesthetic capabilities of its Velocity high flow nylon long fiber reinforced composites. The products reportedly simplify the injection molding of high fiber content LFT components by more easily producing the smooth, fiber-free finish desired on external surfaces.

Long fiber thermoplastic (LFT) compounder PlastiComp, Inc. (Winona, MN) has unveiled the enhanced aesthetic capabilities of its Velocity high flow nylon long fiber reinforced composites. The products reportedly simplify the injection molding of high fiber content LFT components by more easily producing the smooth, fiber-free finish desired on external surfaces.

PlastiComp's LFT compound (right) generates an enhanced surface finish in this application.
PlastiComp developed its Velocity series of high flow nylon (polyamide) 6 and 66 LFT composites to facilitate easier and quicker molding of high glass or carbon fiber content materials. Standard LFT materials with fiber loadings of 50% or above exhibit high viscosity characteristics which can make them problematic to mold, especially in thin wall sections.

"What was originally a side benefit of improving flow has turned out to be a very desirable attribute of our Velocity long fiber products," said Eric Wollan, business development manager at PlastiComp. "As the use of LFT's progresses from industrial goods and internal structural elements to consumer goods and exposed housings, their appearance and surface finish has become a more important selection criteria."

With standard high fiber content materials, higher molding temperatures are required to obtain a resin-rich surface, which results in slower cycle times and increased operating costs. When using PlastiComp's Velocity long fiber grades, enhanced, fiber-free surfaces are reportedly obtainable at 30-40°F (17-22°C) lower processing temperatures. A smooth to the touch, resin-rich surface free of fibers makes colors appear more vibrant and is capable of holding finer embossed details - such visual characteristics are important to establishing high product quality perceptions among consumers.

"The superior surface finish of our Velocity LFT products virtually eliminates the need for any type of secondary finishing operations and it's possible to achieve a near class-A surface finish with polished molds," said Wollan. "Combining these aesthetic benefits with Velocity's capabilities for producing thinner wall sections that facilitate more complex designs while utilizing less material and PlastiComp has long fiber reinforced materials that are ready to take on a new generation of applications."

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