EarthGuard Easy Sand Brings Speed and Efficiency to Tooling Composites
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Improving upon a key market material is not always a project every company is willing to face. It takes planning, research and development, and resources small businesses don’t necessarily have on hand. But when approached to build upon its composite tooling products, Polycryl Corporation and its 11 employees were up to the challenge.
Since 1992, Polycryl’s focus has been to formulate and produce a complete line of specialty products for the tooling and mold-making segments of the composites industry.
About 19 years later, Polycryl visited principals from North American Compos- ites in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to form a business agreement, and their business relationship has been progressing during the last seven years. Polycryl does most of its business with NAC’s Lakeland, Florida, location, which sells most of its product line. After Polycryl’s establishment as a seasoned industry leader in tooling manufacturing, NAC had a task for Polycryl to tackle.
“NAC asked Polycryl to develop a primer-surfacer that they could readily have available and sell in the marketplace without any interruption,” explained Guy Harkness, sales representative at Polycryl.
The product is ideally suited as a surface coating for plugs and patterns for composite tooling and is an easy-to-use, more effective product.
“It’s a reformulated product that is going to process better, going to give you a better finished product, and it’s new to the industry,” said Paul Congelosi, NAC Southeast district manager.
Polycryl already has a primer-surfacer in its line of products, with a vinyl ester back- bone. The EarthGuard VLS High Performance Vinyl Ester Primer-Surfacer shares some of the same quality characteristics as the polyester development, but the vinyl ester is harder and more difficult to sand than its newer counterpart. Congelosi described the polyester upgrade as a more customer-friendly, easier to process, superior product.
The new primer does create a faster mold, but speed isn’t the key factor. Despite its chemistry-laden engineering, simplicity is its biggest takeaway.
“Compared to the competition, you’re going to get a low-shrink, easy-sand surface coating for plugs and patterns for composite tooling,” Harkness said. “That does allow you to go a little faster, if you will, because of the air-dry chemistry … The mold builder can get on the mold quicker than you would with a normal, standard product that took a little bit longer to cure.”
By “quicker,” Harkness referred to the development of the product’s innovative and unique air-dry chemistry and cited its ability to form a tack-free surface, giving manufacturers the option to rapidly build superior plug surfaces. It’s all thanks to its low-shrink design and ability to fill surface imperfections, including rough, uneven edges, making the mold smoother. Combine all of the above with a rapid cure rate for easy sanding and simple buff back properties, and it’s easy to understand why Polycryl and NAC tout the EarthGuard Polyester Primer- Surfacer as a standout product.
“It is another complementary item in the Polycryl line of tooling products that the manufacturer needs, wants and has to have to make a suitable plug with a nice surface profile so that you can make a superior mold,” said Harkness.
The polyester primer-surfacer can add versatility to its list of quality characteristics. While Polycryl manufactures products primarily for the marine industry (about 85 percent to 90 percent), the EarthGuard Primer-Surfacer is welcome to be used in non-automotive transportation, aerospace, military applications, construction and just about any fiberglass part relative to those industrial applications and more.
Aside from primer-surfacers, Polycryl also provides tooling gel coats, tooling resins, barrier coats and finish coat materials. “It’s a very innovative product and [Polycryl is an] industry leader in customer service,” Congelosi said. “They support their products tremendously.”
All technical data sheets, safety data sheets and the tooling gel coat application guide can be accessed at http://www.polycrylcorp.com/product.html.