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Orenco Composites Capabilities

Orenco Composites has nearly 400,000 ft2 of space dedicated to composite manufacturing. Within this space, we have the ability to produce and handle very large composite parts, sometimes weighing over 30,000 lbs. We also have a full CAD and manufacturing engineering team, and stamped calculations are available for many structures we build.


 

Benefits of Closed-Molded Parts

Closed-molded parts are superior to conventional “spray-up” parts in terms of structural properties, tolerances, quality consistency, and aesthetics.

  • Allow the use of high-strength, continuous fiber multi-axials and woven fabrics, encapsulation of core materials, and production of complicated part geometry
  • Allow for a safer, nicer, cleaner working environment and are far more environmentally friendly than manual spray-up
  • Considered by the EPA to be such an environmentally friendly process that the MACT standard for reinforced plastics does not require the additional emissions controls or material limitations that are required for “open-molded” processes, such as spray-up

Composites Manufacturing Processes

Majority of parts are produced using closed-molding processes, including RTM, VARTM, and vacuum infusion.

 

 

Vacuum Infusion

Orenco Composites uses a closed-molding process called "vacuum infusion" to produce everything from parts that weigh only a few pounds to very large parts that weigh 30,000 pounds or more. Vacuum infusion uses atmospheric pressure to push resin through dry reinforcements that are compressed against a mold surface via a vacuum bagging film. It is useful for producing extremely strong parts that require very high reinforcement content and low void content, or parts requiring sophisticated coring, negative drafts, or other complicated laminate structures.

Vacuum infusion has been widely adopted by manufacturers in the aerospace, wind blade, and yacht industries because the process lends itself to these types of large, complicated, low-volume, high-strength structures. Vacuum infusion molds can be relatively inexpensive, since they are typically single-sided and do not require matched male/female mold sets. In fact, standard spray-up molds can sometimes be adapted to the vacuum infusion process.

 

DCPD Reaction Injection Molding (RIM)

Orenco Composites molds very large parts from dicylopentadine or “DCPD” resin. DCPD is a two-component thermoset resin that is molded “neat,” i.e., no reinforcements are used. The RIM process using heated molds, typically aluminum, mounted in hydraulic presses known as “RIM clamps.” Cycle times vary between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on part size and complexity.

Molded DCPD parts have mechanical properties similar to engineered thermoplastics, as well as excellent impact, chemical, and temperature resistance. Sometimes, where higher volumes are required, FRP parts are converted to DCPD. Current hydraulic RIM clamps can accommodate part envelopes up to 8’ x 10’ x 3.5’. Unlike injection molding, RIM molding can be cost effective with as little as 1,000 annual parts demand.

Filament Winding

Orenco Composites uses a process called "filament winding" to produce cylindrical-shaped fiberglass parts like tanks, basins, and pipes. Filament winding is accomplished by winding continuous fiberglass roving onto a rotating metallic mandrel.  The roving is then wrapped in precise — typically helical — patterns. After the roving has been wound on the mandrel to the desired thickness, the resin is allowed to cure, and the part is pulled off the mandrel. Filament winding is used in many different industries for a wide variety of components, from rocket engine cases to sewer pipes to soy sauce tanks. One of Orenco Composites’ specialties is building underground lift station basins for sewer and storm sewer systems.

Testing Equipment

Orenco Composites has a wide variety of testing equipment available:

  • Universal mechanical testing machine: (tensile, compression, overlap shear, & pull-out testing)
  • QUV Accelerated Weathering Tester
  • 50 ton hydraulic press with load cell for large structure testing
  • Brookfield Viscometer
  • Barcol hardness testers
  • Muffle furnace for glass “burn-out” tests
  • Resin gel timers

Resin Trasnfer Molding (RTM)

Orenco Composites uses a closed-molding process called "Resin Transfer Molding (RTM)" to produce high-volume, high-quality composite parts made of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). RTM uses a matched mold set to create a fixed cavity, from which a part is made. In simple terms, fiberglass mat or fabric is laid into the mold cavity, the mold is closed, and resin is then injected into the mold cavity, impregnating the fiberglass. After the resin hardens, the mold is opened and the part is removed. Vacuum is often used to aid in the RTM process, and this molding variant is called Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM). The vacuum assist helps provide mold-clamping force, as well as improved resin flow and part quality.

Common materials used to build RTM molds (also known as “tooling”) include FRP, aluminum, and steel. The material chosen to build a particular mold is based on a variety of factors like part quantity, part size, finish quality, part complexity, and required cycle time. For high-volume production, molds are usually heated and incorporate computerized control systems to automate the entire molding process.

 

Casting

Orenco Composites casts parts using DCPD, epoxy, and urethane resins, typically in heated aluminum molds. Typical applications include gaskets, filters, encapsulation, plates, and various low-volume parts. Casting is also commonly used for prototyping parts.

Assembly/Grit Blasting/Painting

Our part assembly processes include adhesives, mechanical fasteners, and plastic welding. Commonly use structural adhesives include MMA, urethane, and urethane acrylate. Plastic assembly processes include ultrasonic welding, extrusion welding, wedge welding, and hot-plate welding. We have two painting and sandblasting rooms, one of which is 60 feet long. Coatings include gelcoats and a variety of single and two-component paints.

Fabrication and Tooling

Orenco Composites has many pieces of automated equipment at its disposal, including a waterjet, 3-axis routers, robotic trimming, CNC fabric cutting, die cutting, and sheeters. We also have full metal fabrication and tooling shops, plus well-established partnerships with a variety of tooling suppliers.

Benefits of Composites

Long-Term Durability
Low-Maintenance
Non-Magnetic
Radar Transparent
Rapid Installation
High Strength
High Strength-to-Weight Ratio
Lightweight
High Impact Strength
Parts Consolidation
Corrosion Resistant
Directional Strength