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30-09-2019 | Materials Technology | News | Article

Innovative Processing of Cast Polyurethanes

Dr. Hubert Pelc

Korean company Autox has developed a production process that allows cast polyurethanes to be injection moulded. This innovation offers completely new perspectives for the industry. A unique, Low Free MDI-based cast polyurethane from Lanxess, has just proven as an appropriate material for injection moulding

Autox has recently launched a new vibrating screen for the mining industry, which is made by injection-moulding Lanxess' Adiprene cast PU prepolymer. One of the benefits in working with injection moulding is the high production output rate that makes the process highly efficient and cost-effective. In a limited amount of time and with a single mould, more parts can be manufactured. Cost efficiency is also influenced by labour cost which is typically lower than in pour casting. As an example, the current production time of an injection moulded mesh screen is five minutes, while the pour casting process will normally take 35 minutes to manufacture the screen. The Adiprene LF (Low Free) prepolymer delivers improved industrial hygiene, along with ease of processing. It offers a perfect fit with the injection moulding process, as the viscosity is lower than that of a conventional prepolymer.

Increased life span and screening efficiency

The vibrating screen meshes must fulfil strict requirements, as they need to withstand challenging mining operation conditions. The mining screen, which is made of Adiprene C930, offers outstanding abrasion resistance and rebounding properties, improving the lifetime and screening efficiency of the part. The results of this caprolactone-based technology have been supported by field testing. It has been proven that the lifetime of the screen can be up to three times longer than the market high quality reference. This unique development allows less downtime in the mine operation, leading to maintenance savings.

Improved waste management

Autox' new development allows the processing of cast PU prepolymers, hence the moulded part presents greater performance. Complexly shaped parts are easier to mould, as the pressure needed for the injection allows the flow to get into the part details. The injection process answers one of the main concerns of the industry: waste management, as it also allows for better quality consistency, leading to fewer trimmings but also less waste from reduced scrap. Both companies, Lanxess and Autox, are confident that other applications can also benefit from this development.

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