Reticulation machines for the production of open-pored PU foams
According to the German company ATL schubs GmbH, the application areas of reticulated foam blocks and rolls made of polyurethane are as flexible as the material itself. The open-pored lattice texture of the foam assures a low flow resistance to gases and liquids. With Reticulatus reticulation machines, the cell size can be exactly adjusted by the process parameters, says the company.
Ever since the founding in 1996, almost 20 reticulation machines have been delivered worldwide, says ATL schubs. In the first six months of 2012, five reticulation machines were delivered and installed. Moreover, all previous delivered machines are still in operation worldwide: in Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, India, China, Thailand and the USA. The customers come from very many different branches and industries. A machine in the USA, for example, reticulates foam which is further processed into polishing pads for automobiles. Reticulated foam is generally used in the entire automotive industry, e. g. in air filters, tanks or as cushioning for car seats and interior trims. For the latter, the reticulated foam rolls and the fabric can be directly bonded via flame lamination.
The Reticulatus system is also especially suitable for the production of quick-drying outdoor cushions, says the company. Due to the open-pored cell structure, the foam has an implemented drainage function, so that the water can flow off easily. Thus, mould formation and unpleasant smells are avoided. The same effect is achieved for viscoelastic mattresses. This foam is also known as quick dry, easy dry, and dry fast foam
In addition, reticulated foam also has applications in other areas. By dipping in a ceramic suspension and subsequent firing, ceramic filters for the foundry industry arise out of the open porous polyurethane foam. Metal foam is produced with a similar method. This metal foam, for example, is used as crash protective element or catalyst support in the automotive industry. The newest development in the metal sector is foam, which is based on a nickel chromium alloy. Due to the high electrical conductivity, the porous metal is ideally suited for use in lithium ion batteries and accumulators with other charging voltages
So you see, a wide range of applications can be fabricated from polyurethane foam. But before further processing, the fine closed membranes between the cell walls need to be opened. With the Reticulatus, this procedure becomes a fully computer controlled process. The entire procedure lasts approximately 8 to 10 minutes. The Reticulatus meets the latest explosion protection regulations like ATEX 94/9/EG and can also be ASME and UL certified, therefore it complies with all international regulations. In addition, every explosion chamber is TÜV inspected to ensure its operational safety.
Another important benefit of Reticulatus is the so-called “Sweeping”, or NST (Nitrogen Sweeping Technology). It is a separate procedure during the reticulation process. To avoid external combustion of the foam, nitrogen is injected into the chamber after the detonating gas mixture is fed into the machine. Due to this, highest quality can be ensured, especially for sensitive foams, says ATL schubs.
According to the company, the Reticulatus provides an effective and efficient basis for the further processing of polyurethane foam and is applicable to nearly all industries. With its own testing system, ATL schubs GmbH offers the opportunity to assure oneself of foam reticulation.