3M & TenCate Partnership Brings Next Generation Tooling Materials to Market

3M Advanced Composites and TenCate Advanced Composites have announced that they will now jointly develop, market and sell a comprehensive portfolio of tooling resins and prepregs.

The new products will be launched at SAMPE Tech next week. Subsequent products will include a high temperature bismaleimide (BMI) tooling prepreg developed by 3M and a high temperature BMI Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) resin developed by TenCate. The products will all feature 3M Matrix Resin, a proprietary resin technology, which enables the production of stronger and more durable tooling composites.

The first product to be launched is 3M Fortified Tooling Prepreg 140, featuring an enhanced epoxy matrix resin for laminate tool manufacturing. With exceptionally high durability, hardness and dimensional stability, 3M Fortified Tooling Prepreg 140 offers benefits for a wide variety of applications, including tooling for aerospace, space structures, military, boat hulls, sporting goods and wind turbine blades.

Fortified Tooling Prepreg 140 is created with a patented resin formulation that increases both the fracture toughness and hardness of carbon fibre composite tools, while lowering thermal expansion and almost eliminating exotherm as a design limitation. Made with more than 40 percent by weight silica nanoparticles infused and distributed throughout the matrix, the material delivers features unobtainable from other systems, helping manufacturers create composite tools with greater resistance to microcracking and scratching. The Prepreg improves fracture resistance and interlaminar shear strength and maintains a high quality surface finish, significantly extending the life of composite tools and decreasing manufacturing costs.

Tools made with the material demonstrate less springback, shrinkage and thermal expansion, making them more accurate right off the master. Less scuffing and scratching means that tools need less re-work, helping them stay in production. Furthermore, the product enables greater design flexibility, allowing the creation of tools with sharper angles and tighter dimensional tolerances. Additional manufacturing flexibility is added by the material’s ability to be cured under either vacuum or autoclave pressure.

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