The Tech-Core Advantage
When we build our Sleeves and Bridges, we make sure that they are durable but also lightweight. Careful selection of materials is very critical. This is due to heat, various pressures and corrosive chemicals.
Although metal would appear to be the obvious choice, this is untrue. Metal corrodes over time and this is costly when looking in the long term. Furthermore, metal is heavy and ductile which can cause more problems.
As mentioned in our previous article, we use Dyneema for the inner sleeve/bridge layer due to its strength. But to make a stronger Sleeve or Bridge, the core of the product is as important.
Factoring those points, we choose to use a composite core that achieves our goals and more. A combination of Fibreglass and Epoxy Vinylester resin yielded amazing results.
Why use a resin?
Using resin gave us better performance than metal or an alloy could. This was from a cost to benefit ratio which was in favour of Epoxy and Vinylester.
First, the cost. Resin compared to metal or another material is substantially lower. This means we can pass on the savings to our customers. Furthermore, when we look at the weight of resin, we achieve far better strength for less. This is crucial when working with Sleeves and Bridges around a factory location.
We chose Epoxy Vinylester because it was designed to withstand chemicals. Another factor was its ability to tolerate stretching with less cracking. Also, it can handle greater vibrational loads than for example a Polyester resin. This means it can withstand greater loads without deforming.
The final reason is its heat resistant properties due to its molecular structure. To further highlight its advantages, it is often used in various demanding industries. These applications include high-end boats, vehicles, reinforcing bridges and more.
The foundation of the core layer is constructed using fibreglass. To make fibreglass, molten glass gets fed through tiny holes. The strands that come out are then made into a cloth-like sheet which can be used for various applications.
Fibreglass cloth and Vinylester exclusively do not produce the required mechanical properties. But, when combined, they create high strength parts that are also light-weight.
Fibreglass reinforced polymer (FRP)
The final result is FRP which has far better properties while maintaining its shape and low weight. This means the core sleeve is optimized for a printing environment. It is resistant to humidity, water, thermal cycling, chemical cleaning agents and corrosion.