Oak Ridge National Laboratory installs Roctool technology for early-stage R&D

Roctool, a developer of mold heating and cooling technologies headquartered in Le Bourget du Lac, France, announced the installation of its “leading-edge molding technology” at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, TN. Roctool’s large double-zone generator and its latest performance cooling unit were installed at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at ORNL for early-stage R&D in automotive, aerospace, aircraft, military, energy and consumer goods.

“The installation at ORNL will afford leading OEMs better access to Roctool technology, enabling them to test and evaluate the benefits for composite molding programs,” said Steve Verschaeve, Roctool’s Vice President of North American Business Development.

The equipment is available to industrial collaborators through ORNL and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) R&D programs.

“We are excited to add Roctool’s heating and cooling mold technology to our research capabilities in additive and composites manufacturing at the MDF, where both ORNL- and IACMI-led projects can utilize the latest in compression molding technology for lightweight composites,” said Bill Peter, ORNL Director of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.

Uday Uaidya, Governor’s Chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing for ORNL and the University of Tennessee and the Chief Technology Officer for IACMI, commented, “Roctool’s innovative molding technologies will accelerate the overall impact of our programs and expand composite processing capabilities for our industrial partners and the growing workforce.”

Along with the equipment installation, Roctool has developed a special preliminary mold for compression molding programs. The highly detailed mold, which will be installed later this year, incorporates numerous design features for a range of composite products. A new mold is under construction for more advanced manufacturing trials. Customers can also build their own Roctool mold for specific application needs.

The DZ 150-kW induction generator has two zones each with 150 kW. It is an ultra-compact model dedicated to Roctool processing, and its design saves valuable floor space and simplifies in-line integration. A remote control unit permits adjustment of the heating cycles via feedback to the microcontroller. The RPC C24 micro cooling unit effectively purges the system and then uses water to efficiently cool the mold, explained Roctool.

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