Research into new recyclable compounds supports the push to reduce environmental impact.
The trend in the automotive industry towards lightweight and energy efficient vehicles is driven largely by sustainability, production costs, and performance concerns. Air ducts are critical HVAC components, and a target for weight reduction. New materials provide better insulation against heat and sound — vibration dampening, shock absorption or cushioning — while creating more flexible and lightweight air ducts.
With our extensive experience in different applications and sectors, we design, develop and supply a wide range of customized molds, thermoforming machines and automation, supporting clients from design through project industrialization up to commissioning, assistance of production and process optimization.
Our technology has several advantages over traditional blow molding:
- Weight reduction up to 65%
- Better acoustic performance
- Excellent thermal resistance
- Flexibility, for easy assembly
- Sound reduction, no rattling noises
Customized molds for perfect results
We design multi-cavity molds tailored to each client’s unique needs. This includes not only the mold itself, but also dedicated ancillaries: heating, extra cooling devices, vacuum valves, sensors and undercutting.
Our in-house laboratory is dedicated to innovation and is able to provide an “on hand inventory” solution to companies interested in developing technologies, testing molds and creating prototypes.
This is one example of a customized solution capable of detaching a finished air duct from its mold.
Thermoforming with our Twin Sheet machine
This process involves carefully heating and forming two sheets of material, using vacuum into the molds, then pressing them together quickly to seal the two sides, creating a hollow part.
An integrated cutting system has been developed to remove each duct obtained from the multi-cavity tool to reduce the post-processing operations and, consequently, production costs for the part.
To improve the cycle time of the thermoforming process, an additional cooling system can be applied to the mold by blowing cool air between the sheets.
Twin Sheet thermoforming using XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) foam is an excellent solution for producing automotive air ducts.
Automatic Twin Sheet solution:
- Automated loading & unloading
- Complete adjustability
- Up to 120-ton clamping force
- Automatic insert placement
- Quick change tools
Automating the process
We also offer turnkey automation solutions for air duct thermoforming that allow for complete plant management, with full integration of production equipment, product handling, and storage.
Automation makes it possible to monitor and manage all the variables of the production process with incredible accuracy, and obtain analytical information, useful for optimizing the performance and efficiency of industrial devices. This information can be stored in the cloud and accessed anywhere at any time.
Long cycle times are common to production technology. Automation makes it possible to reduce the time needed to manufacture each part, allowing these lightweight air ducts to be applied to economy class and high-end automobiles.
Materials research is ongoing. Different compounds are in development to maintain the same qualities automakers are looking for, but with the added benefit of being recyclable. Doing so helps to support the push to reduce environmental impact in the industry.