Resin Infusion & Direct Infusion™

Resin Infusion (RI)

Resin infusion is the process whereby resin is drawn into a dry laminate whilst it is held under vacuum against a rigid mould by a sealed flexible membrane. The most commonly used membrane consists of a disposable film (vacuum bag) and this film is sealed against the mould edges using a sealant tape.

Resin infusion is particularly relevant when making very large structures as tooling costs are relatively low. Unlike RTM, the ‘B’ surface finish of the resulting laminate is not controlled cosmetically but excellent laminate properties can be achieved. Volatile emissions can also be dramatically reduced making resin infusion an excellent alternative to large-scale open moulding.

Recent developments with renewable silicone vacuum membranes have widened the scope for resin infusion and can sometimes be used to reduce the general cost of consumable materials.

Direct Infusion™

As the resin infusion process has become more widespread the need to mechanise the handling, mixing and delivery of the resin has become more important. The traditional technique of hand-mixing bulk resin becomes impractical and potentially risky when using the process on any significant scale. Problems with mixing consistency, potential bulk-exotherm and high levels of waste can have a significant impact on the viability of the process.

A meter-mixing machine can be used to simply dispense mixed resin ‘on demand’ into a suitable container but Composite Integration have taken the technology a step further by pioneering the development of systems capable of injecting ‘directly’ into the infusion process. With the use of In-mould pressure sensors (IMPS) positioned strategically in the mould, sending the information to the injection machine and enable the process to be completely ‘closed’ with fully automatic quantity and flow-rate control.

The advantages of ‘directly injecting’ include:

  • Process repeatability
  • Resin is delivered to the mould at the optimum pressure
  • No bulk-exotherm risk
  • No manual resin mixing
  • Internal in-line mixing avoids air entrapment in resin
  • Waste reduction
  • Possibility to record process data

Most of the machines in the Ciject range have the capability to be used in the Direct Infusion™ process but Composite Integration have developed a new generation of machines specifically for large scale processing where higher volume output is needed.

The Ciject Four and Ciject Five are used to infuse some of the largest composite structures currently in production.

Click here to view the Ciject Four

Click here to view the Ciject Five

A demonstration of the 'Direct' infusion of a 3m boat hull