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Simplifying Part Design & Manufacturing of Thermosets with Multi-Component (2K) Molding

SpecialChem / Mar 22, 2010

Multi-component or as it is colloquially known, 2K, is a process of producing a component by molding, whereby the surface or the interior is modified by the inclusion of a material, other than that used to produce the component itself. This article describes this process by citing and describing various examples. This process is used with both thermosets and thermoplastics and can be carried out in one stage or in several but in each case the objective is to lend properties to the base material, which cannot normally be attained by the base material on its own. An added advantage is that it is usually more economical to produce a component this way, rather than molding a component and modifying it afterwards. One of the earliest versions of 2K molding dates back to the early days of thermoset molding, towards the end of the nineteenth century. The current process of converting thermoset plastics was and is even sometimes today - compression molding. In this process, a partially cured thermoset in powder form is placed in a heated two-part mold and compressed, until the object is both correctly formed and the material fully cross-linked. It was recognised that these thermoset materials, usually phenol-formaldehyde resins (PF) were ideal for the production of electrical components, which could replace the existing ceramic materials currently in use. One of the most eclectic applications was and still is the British 13-amp plug that was produced up till a short while ago. Now, the plugs are made from thermoplastics and the cables are pre-connected due to changes in safety legislation.

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