ReAgent Hosts Meeting with SoftSlide Partners

This April, ReAgent had the pleasure of hosting the next big meeting for partners of the SoftSlide Project. This was a chance to share progress and plan the next phase of the project – and what better way to christen our new manufacturing facility than to discuss exciting new developments with our European partners?

Transforming the European Sealing Industry

In case you missed our previous post, the SoftSlide project is a European consortium that aims to put an end to costly and inefficient methods of seal manufacturing.

By introducing a new ‘texturing during moulding’ process to the moulded parts industry, SoftSlide will offer a more efficient manufacturing method that produces textured, low-friction, and highly-durable dynamic seals.

These innovative techniques are bringing a new dynamic sealing generation to Europe by reducing manufacturing costs, improving the durability of industrial equipment, and increasing energy savings. Along with several other partners, ReAgent is playing an important role in this exciting new project.

A SoftSlide leaflet print-out

With the help of its European partners, the SoftSlide project will bring about a new dynamic sealing generation by introducing a more efficient manufacturing process to the moulded parts industry. SoftSlide’s textured dynamic seals and leading technology will help businesses all over the world save energy and money, whether you’re in the automotive, aerospeace or waste treatment industry.

Sol-Gel Release Coatings Used by SoftSlide 

As specialists in the scale-up and blending of chemical products, ReAgent is responsible for the production of a semi-permanent mould release coating that will be applied to the moulds. This will enable textured seals to be manufactured.

Known as a sol-gel release coating, this formulation has been tried and tested to ensure it produces the desired results and is as effective as possible. Sol-gel release coatings will:

  • Reduce surface tension on textured moulds
  • Improve texture transfer, longevity and efficiency
  • Increase release properties by enhancing hydrophobicity
  • Increase the number of cycles a mould can go through before cleaning

This year’s SoftSlide meeting was held at our Cheshire-based factory so that we could not only discuss our progress with sol-gel production but also have the chance to demonstrate how we are able to scale-up the batch sizes.

A set-up of equipment in ReAgent's factory

When Inspiralia visited the ReAgent factory, our Technical Sales Specialist, David Rowlands, gave a demonstration on how we manufacture sol-gel release coatings in 1L batches using our mixing vessel (in the background).

The Big Scale-Up

Our team at ReAgent has previously manufactured the sol-gel coating in 1L batches. While our overall aim is to eventually produce batches up 1000L, we must first take it step-by-step.

After successfully producing 1L batches of the sol-gel formula, our next stage in the big scale-up is 100L with the help of our specially designed mixing vessel.

Applying the Coating

As well as scaling up the batch size of the coating, ReAgent is also researching what the best way is to apply it to the seal. The coating can be applied in 3 ways:

  • Dipping
  • Spraying
  • Wiping

The chosen method of coating will be dependent on the size, shape and complexity of the mould to be coated. The diverse ways in which sol-gel can be applied makes it suitable to a wide range of components for use in industrial equipment.

Man in high-vis jacter using a pipette to drop a formula onto a testing plate

In the lab, we test the effectiveness of the sol-gel formula when applied through a dripper.

ReAgent are excited to be a part of this exciting project, and with the increased manufacturing space our new facility has given us the possibilities are endless. Stay updated with our progress on the SoftSlide project by subscribing to our free newsletter. 

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