Ashland introduces tooling concept at COMPOSITES EUROPE 2012

The XO tooling concept comprises three premium Ashland gel-coat and resin products formulated to make high-quality moulds.

To build a mould, you first need a perfectly polished version of the shape that you want to cast, such as a boat hull. This shape is made out of a material that is weaker than the final boat hull needs to be, but strong enough to serve as a stencil for the mould. In order to make the tool for a boat hull, 0.5-1 mm of gel-coat is applied as the first layer, which provides strength and a glossy finish.

Our three step XO tooling concept, consisting of Ashland’s Maxguard GT tooling gel-coat, AME 6000 T-35 skin coat and Aropol XO tooling resin is unique in its class. The three products are tuned to work together in order to achieve a great tooling finish. Our proven technology eliminates tooling resin shrinkage and solves a major challenge that our customers face in the tooling area.
Magnus Johansson, senior brand manager, Ashland Performance Materials, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)

Ashland’s Maxguard™ GT is a premium, high-strength tooling gel-coat based on epoxy vinyl ester, guaranteeing a hard and glossy tool finish. Its high mechanical and chemical resistance ensures a perfectly smooth finish of the mould. In addition, it increases the useful life of the tool, making it possible to cast many perfect products in the same mould.

The second step in tooling is to apply an extremely strong 1-2 mm skin coat resin to bond with the gel-coat to form a laminate. This resin’s function is to strengthen the gel-coat and to ensure it does not crack.

Ashland’s AME™ 6000 T-35 skin coat is a special epoxy vinyl ester based resin with exceptionally low shrinkage. The skin coat resin with its low viscosity and high mechanical strength gives an initial layer free of cavities and provides the ideal support base for the tooling gel-coat.

The final step in the mould-making process is the tooling resin, which gives the tool its final structure. Most tooling resins are polyester resins that generally have a tendency to shrink more than the gel-coat and skin coat laminate to which they bond. As the mould needs to be perfect time and again, the smallest deformations can ruin it, making it critical that resin shrinkage be eliminated or minimised in order to keep the tool surface smooth.

AROPOL™ XO is a unique tooling resin based on Ashland’s proven low-profile technology, which gives the final tool a superior surface profile with close to perfect dimensional stability. The low-viscosity and good-curing characteristics of AROPOL XO tooling resin make it easy to apply and easy to achieve good final laminate properties.

All three Ashland XO tooling products are available in both spray and brush applications. 

COMPOSITES EUROPE 2012 takes place on 9-11 October in Düsseldorf, Germany. The show is organised by Reed Exhibitions with the support of the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA), the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Reinforced Plastics magazine, the German engineering association VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau) and German association for reinforced plastics AVK.