Seamed Silicone Membranes for Large Composites Manufacture

Seamed Silicone Membranes for Large Composites Manufacture

Challenge

Two composites manufacturers approached us in need of a silicone membrane for large presses. One, a furniture laminator, required material at 2.1 m wide, and the other, a producer of aircraft interiors, required material at 2.2 m wide.

Fenner Precision’s current capabilities mean that silicone sheeting can be supplied in maximum widths of 1.5 m. But we weren’t going to let that stop us helping customers. We therefore needed to find a way to create wider material that would still have the elongation and high strength capabilities as our standard FenForm™ silicone sheet.

Approach

The best way to create a wider material, while keeping costs down for our customers, was to join two narrower pieces of sheeting with a seam.

Competing seamed silicone sheeting is joined by simply overlapping two pieces of material, after which the join is filed down. However, this leaves a ridge and a weak spot at the join. We eliminated this problem by creating a new joining system using many layers of material that interweave with one another – thus creating wide sheeting at a constant thickness without any weaknesses.

Results

Due to our innovative joining methods, our wider FenForm™ sheeting has the same benefits of our narrower material – including 600% elongation and high strength / low tear. On test, our customers found that the join was actually stronger than the rest of the material and were extremely happy with our solution.

Our customers could now successfully manufacture their large composite parts without risk of failure – all thanks to Fenner Precision’s cost-effective seamed FenForm™ silicone membranes.

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