Automated formed-in-place foam process

Automated formed-in-place foam process

September 28, 2018

Henkel Corp
Adhesives/Sealants Materials

Rocky Hill, Connecticut – Formulated to conform to highly intricate metal and plastic components, Fermapor K31 from Henkel’s Sonderhoff USA line is a two-component, crosslinking polyurethane formed-in-place (FIP) foam sealant line designed to create a barrier gasket that protects automotive components from moisture, dust, dirt, liquids, and other contaminants.

Formulated to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in car interiors, the low-emission Fermapor K31 formulation fulfills DBL 5452-13 (Daimler); PA-C 325 (BMW); GMW 15634, GMW 60326, GMW 3235-B, and GMW 60271 (GM/Opel), as well as VW 50180, PV 3925, and PV 3015 (VW/Audi) requirements.

Two-component Fermapor K31 cures at room-temperature when its resin and hardener are mixed during the dispense process. Ovens are not required, but heat will accelerate cure. The cured gasket operates reliably in temperatures from -40°C to 100°C and can withstand up to 160°C for short durations. The material meets REACH/EC 1907/2006 and RoHS standards.

Once applied, Fermapor K31 expands to its full size in seconds, so process-oriented quality control systems can determine whether the seal has achieved its required height over the entire contour. The sealing foam adheres to and seals many different substrates and shapes and provides 100% contact between mating parts. The gasket’s mixed-cell foam structure makes Fermapor K31 highly compressible, with elastic recovery between 90% and 97%, which is critical for frequently opened and closed parts such as drum lids and switch cabinet doors. It also compensates for component tolerances.

While Fermapor K31 formulations can be customized for color and performance, the standard product is black. It offers a hardness from 5 shore 00 to 40 shore A, compression resistance from 5kPa to 200 kPa, bulk density from 0.10g/cm3 to 0.60g/cm3, tensile strength up to 2MPa, and elongation up to 400%. Hydrophobic formulations absorb just 5% to 10% water at room temperature under compression.

Other Fermapor K31 products are formulated to provide special properties such as fast cure, FDA conformity, antimicrobial protection and flame retardancy. The fast cure formulation is highly reactive, offering tack-free time of 2 to 3 minutes for high-speed manufacturing processes. Other formulations are specially designed to comply with FDA requirements for direct food contact; to provide flame retardancy up to UL-94 HF-1; or to provide antimicrobial protection.

Fermapor K31 materials are applied using a two-component, low-pressure mixing and dosing system - the DM 402/403 - for fully- or semi-automated FIP sealing. This system’s high process reliability meets the quality requirements of different industries and is especially suitable for three-dimensional part geometries with or without a groove. The machine’s standard output rate ranges from 0.5g/sec to 3.0g/sec. Customers can adjust the degree of hardness by varying material mixing ratios, and to change seal width and height by adjusting dosing output. Dynamic mixing delivers a homogenized blend of components, while a highly-rigid linear robot ensures positioning and dispensing accuracy. Remote maintenance can be completed using a modem or TCP/IP.

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