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Because reactive polymers such as polyurethane (PU) exhibit extremely strong adhesion to metallic materials, appropriate measures are required in order to remove foamed articles from the mold without damaging them. Up until now, these measures - such as external release agents - have created a number of disadvantages.

PlasticsToday Staff

March 18, 2014

2 Min Read
Release agent-free production of PU foamed interior components

Because reactive polymers such as polyurethane (PU) exhibit extremely strong adhesion to metallic materials, appropriate measures are required in order to remove foamed articles from the mold without damaging them. Up until now, these measures - such as external release agents - have created a number of disadvantages.

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Mold liner eliminates the need for using a mold-release agent in PU processing.

The PURe Liner from Frimo (Wixom, MI)  is a semi-permanent mold liner made of a self-releasing plastic compound. Patented by a German partner company, this process has been further developed by Frimo with regard to the front-foaming (partial back-foaming of inserted substrates) of polyurethanes. Due to its unique material composition, the innovative PURe Liner permits low demolding forces while remaining in the mold cavity.

The PURe Liner is fitted over the complete surface of the mold and is held in place via vacuum. It can be easily replaced within 15 seconds. The use of PURe Liner not only eliminates the need for a release agent station:  it can also reduce cycle times, cut labor costs, eliminate the need for added molds, reduce scrap and save additional investment costs. In addition, the PURe Liner allows for surface textures to be applied directly in the injection molded liner process, which is then transferred to the polyurethane molded article.

The PURe Liner is most often used when processing interior automotive components such as arm rests but Frimo is actively looking at opportunities to use the innovation in other applications to help produce much larger parts.

Frimo offers its customers individual PURe Liner concept analysis and cost benefit calculations on a project-by-project basis depending upon the required parameters. Results from projects in production show cost savings of up to 20 percent over a program life versus the conventional processes that use a release agent.

Frimo recently acquired new contracts with Tier 1 suppliers using PURe Liner for support for interior components to be used in upcoming vehicle projects at Ford Motor and Mercedes-Benz.

The company also announced that it will be presenting two technical papers on automotive developments in the area of PU processing at the 2014 UTECH North America conference, held June 4-5 in Charlotte, NC. Both of FRIMO's papers - Innovations in PU Processing - Seating Systems, and Novel Process for Eliminating Mold Releases - will be presented on day one.

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