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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.