Content Inside :
This booklet is intended as a guide for the processing of Lexan® polycarbonate sheet. Forming, fabricating, finishing and decorating methods are discussed. For more detailed information or advice please contact GE Structured Products. 1.0 Forming
1.1 Pre-Drying 1.2 Thermoforming 1.3 Heating and Cooling 1.4 Drape Forming 1.5 Pressure Forming 1.6 Twin Sheet Forming 1.7 Product Design 1.8 Moulds and Mould Design 1.9 Domes and Pyramids 1.10 Hot Line Bending 1.11 Cold Curving 2.0 Fabricating 2.1 Cutting and Sawing 2.2 Drilling 2.3 Milling 2.4 Mechanical Fastening Devices 2.4.1 Screws, Nuts and Bolts 2.4.2 Riveting Systems 2.5 Miscellaneous Fabricating Techniques 3.0 Finishing, Decorating and Cleaning 3.1 Chemical Resistance 3.2.1 Painting 3.2.2 Screen Printing 3.2.3 Anti-static Treatment 3.3 Adhesives and Sealants 3.4 Cleaning Recommendations. Thermoforming Lexan® polycarbonate sheet is an established process that offers the designer the freedom to develop complex shapes and forms with cost/performance characteristics that have significant advantages over more traditional methods of production. Low cost tooling, large part production and reduced lead times all contribute to the advantages of producing sheet products in this way. Whilst each process is slightly different, as illustrated in Figures 1.1-1.4, the basic steps are very similar. The sheet is firstly clamped along all edges inside a clamping frame. A heat source is moved over the sheet raising its temperature until it is elastic.
The heat source is removed and the mould table raised. The air in the space between the sheet and the mould is evacuated and the sheet is drawn towards the mould and takes its form. Pressure can also be applied to the positive side of the mould to reproduce detailed mould features. Pre-heating of the clamping frame to 120°C-130°C is recommended. Since Lexan® polycarbonate sheet cools rapidly, it is essential that final control and heating is carried out on the forming machine itself. Normal sheet temperatures are in the range of 170°C-225°C for mechanical and vacuum forming. Moulds used for forming Lexan® polycarbonate sheet products are relatively inexpensive and can be made from a variety of different materials.Depending upon the number of production parts required and their quality, moulds can be made from wood, plaster of Paris, epoxy resins, metalfilled polyester or metals. Since they only need to withstand atmospheric pressure there is little wear and the flow of the plastic against the mould surface is minimal.
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