The Drumwinder, our workhorse for UD and Crossply development

The Eco Ceramics burner on the Drumwinder
 

At van Wees we continue to invest in the development of new UD and crossply products in close cooperation with our customers. Our Drumwinder is used very regularly and its appearance keeps changing as the development of UD and Crossply material progresses.

On the Drumwinder we can mimic the processes as they take place in the actual production lines. The laminates produced have a length and width of 1500 × 1500 mm and can be used very well for testing the performances of the material. Since the production takes place as a tape laying process with adjustable tape width, the Drumwinder’s control software enables the production of very light as well as very heavy laminates.

Van Wees has done trials with non-twisted glass fibre yarns, polyester yarns, polyamide yarns, aramid yarns and carbon fibres with epoxy, polyurethane, silicone, PTFE and PFA resins. All the resins are water based, except the silicone resins. In the near future we will test hot-melt epoxy and polyurethane resins. Van Wees has seen performance tests with polyester yarns showing a tensile strength for crossply laminates that is 20 – 30 % higher than in comparable woven and coated fabrics. Together with the very smooth, slick finish these products are very interesting for outdoor products such as tents, tensioned structures, tarpaulins and advertising applications.

For the melting and sintering of PTFE and PFA resins van Wees has been using external infrared heating in addition to the heated drum. For resins melting at lower temperature we used Krelus® heating elements, but for sintering of PTFE van Wees had to find a heater with much more power and intensity. This problem was solved by using a demonstration infrared heating module supplied by ECO Ceramics.

For drying and curing of textile products ECO Ceramics makes an innovative type of infrared radiator. Based on a unique ceramic foam type burner this company designs and fabricates gas-fired infrared drying installations. The installations excel in an exceptionally high energy efficiency, which enables a maximum drying capacity at minimum energy input. The output of the installations can be adjusted freely, which allows for an optimal drying process. In combination with hot air re-circulation a homogenous process temperature is achieved with the additional advantage that the evaporated water is quickly removed. The high power density of the burner elements, combined with the radiation profile, causes the radiation to penetrate deeply into the textile rather then only heating the surface. This behaviour provides quick and homogenous heating of products.

Van Wees’ expertise in machine building and product development is based on our ability to combine the know-how of our customers with our own knowledge. We often see interesting projects emerging from such co-maker relations.