Vacuum lamination

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3CON offers Vacuum Lamination, Thermoforming and IMG (In Mould Graining). With customized tools and machine concepts, we are able to realize your individual production requirements. In advance, we support our customers in component design and process development with our know-how and simulation capabilities to ensure success.

1. Process Description

Grained foils are laminated on a plastic or natural fiber carrier using a suitable adhesive system. The carrier, usually a door panel, center console or an instrument panel, is for this purpose and  is provided with small vacuum holes. Through these small holes the foil material is drawn with vacuum.

Contrary to vacuum laminating in thermoforming a film is placed over a thermoforming mold. In a subsequent step the preformed skin is back-molded, foam backed or press laminated afterwards.

In the so-called IMG -L-Method, a foil is embossed and grained in a nickel shell and laminated directly on the carrier. This method is used especially in deeply three-dimensional components such as door and instrument panels to eliminate the stretching of the grain.

For the optimal design of the component geometry the program T-Sim is available to simulate laminating or thermoforming processes. By entering the material and process data in association with the component geometry laminating and thermoforming processes can be simulated and optimized. High extraction grade can already limited in advance to a minimum through various optimization loops in terms of product geometry and material properties.

To ensure the simulation results sn extensive test facilities are available in our 3CON on site laboratory. 

2. Machines

According to the requirements of the process and essentially cycle time, 3CON offers an optimal machine concept.

For smaller quantities or lower cycle times the single station machine, based on our tried and in many applications tested MTP (Multi Tool Press) is the right choice. For high-volume vehicles, we can offer you our innovative Inline-Vacuum-Lamination-Machine, with different stage of expansion and individual configuration.

The basis for a stable process is our innovative, energy and results-optimized heating. By using medium-wave IR radiators, the heating time, as opposed to quartz lamps can be significantly reduced. The heating curve of the sheet is continuously monitored with 6 pyrometer.

A specially developed 3CON control unit performs a continuous target / actual comparison between heating temperature and time.

A repeatability of +/- 0.03mm drives of the tables associated with holding forces of up to 50kN allows the integration of punching and kiss-cut trimming.

The flexible 3CON tool interface allows easy adaptation of existing thermoforming and laminating tools from various manufacturers, whereby the production of spare parts is ensured.

The compact design of our systems minimizes space requirements; intense foundation work such as holes for racks is not required by our table drive.

3. Tools

Based on the product and process requirements, we develop a suitable tool concept for you. For process development, we use the FEM program T-Sim and run tests with prototype tooling as well. Optimized geometries of run offs and helping elements can hereby be determined in advance. From the first installation in the machines our tools have a high level of development from our staff at 3CON.

It’s very important to consider the following processes on the run-off design and the design of the trimming line.

4. Great Profitable Products

In close cooperation with our customers, 3CONoptimizes the process and the tool during the commissioning to get a perfect salable product. Here, we used purposefully our extensive of experience across many different laminating and thermoforming projects expertise.

We used specifically our extensive know-how which we have gained from many laminating and thermoforming projects.

Key Facts:

  • Short cycle times through the use of medium wave 3CON Fast Radiators and specially developed 3CON heating control unit (time + power)
  • Material savings through foil feed by means of clamping units instead of a needle chain rail 
  • High-precision table drive systems for trimming operations and IMG -L (+/- 0.03mm repeatability table drives, holding force upper table 50kN and 40kN lower table)
  • Small installation area, compact construction
  • No holes for gear racks into the ground
  • Adaptable interface for tools from other manufacturers
  • Sheet - or Coil working is possible
  • Fast commissioning time