An innovative and differentiated tooling design and processing technology called PtFS (Production to Functional Specification) from UK-based Surface Generation has been chosen by resin supplier Victrex as it seeks to bring enhanced manufacturing effectiveness to its parts-based ‘mega-programs’ and to OEMs, Tier 1s, and the molding community. Victrex has invested a small equity stake in Surface Generation, alongside the ability to utilize the technology.
Surface Generation’s technology uses patented hardware and proprietary software to thermally manage multiple part areas during processing and drive reductions in the energy consumption, injection processing pressures and cycle times required to make even the most complex material and part combinations. Victrex believes the technology will enable its customers to produce more complex parts that may have faced limitations when using traditional tooling designs used in injection or compression molding due to the limited heating and cooling profiles possible with conventional thermal control in the tools.
With PtFS, the specification of the target component is used to precisely engineer the thermal, structural and control characteristics of its tooling. The tool is divided into multiple regions (typically >32) which are connected to a multi-channel control system. Variable, on-demand heated and cooled fluids circulating through each region allows individual zones to be independently managed throughout the entire cooling phase. Pre-emptive control strategies programmed into the system ensure the final part meets its ultimate design intent.
"This investment with Surface Generation provides Victrex with an opportunity to finesse unique and potentially breakthrough manufacturing techniques," said Jakob Sigurdsson, CEO at Victrex. "We believe that the advantages of PtFS processing, where crucial controls can be applied to temperature levels in real time in the tool, could be a major advancement for our parts programs, such as medical or automotive gears and potentially in aerospace composite solutions."
"At Surface Generation we are focused on using PtFS based processing techniques to transform manufacturing with advanced high-performance materials, resulting in improved parts with less waste," said Ben Halford, CEO at Surface Generation. "We look forward to working with Victrex, a global leader in PAEK polymers, with decades of acquired expertise and market access. High-performance polymers are revolutionizing design in a number of application areas, across multiple industries, offering the opportunity to replace metals and consolidate optimized parts."
|Focused thermal profiling in the injection tool allows molding of complex parts from challenging materials.|