At JEC World 2017 in Paris (March 14-16), Rubbercraft (Hall 6, Booth D68) is showcasing its latest capabilities to design and custom manufacture elastomeric Reusable Vacuum Bags (RVB). Leading OEM customers in the aircraft sector are already using this high performance RVB solution, typically for producing large scale FRP composite parts moulded using an epoxy infusion resin, or an epoxy prepreg system either in, or out of autoclave. Rubbercraft’s customized RVB product offering includes large and complex shaped bags that can feature integrated breather layers to effectively prevent permeation and can be in direct contact with epoxy resin systems. The products are primarily aimed at Aerospace & Defence, Wind Energy and industrial sectors where a high confidence level to consistently precision mould void free, high quality fibre reinforced composite components to exacting specifications is a critical factor.

According to Rubbercraft, its RVB sheet production process and custom design service provides customers with a very reliable reusable tooling solution, which not only produces higher quality mouldings time after time, but also offers a lower cost per cure and reduces labour and materials cost. Overall, this RVB system offers manufacturers a lower amortized tooling cost alternative to a disposable bagging system, especially for advanced composite parts needing compacting or debulking as part of a multiple ply moulding process.

Libby Thompson, IPS Group Marketing Manager commented: “Rubbercraft has exhibited at JEC in Paris before, so we know that it provides an excellent international platform, not only to showcase our new RVB product, but our wider range of products and capabilities. The JEC show provides us with the opportunity to meet key decision makers from both Europe and the rest of the world. This is important to us, as our fundamental aim during the show is to listen, learn and understand more about the latest industry challenges by speaking with researchers, designers, engineers, operators and buyers, and to then see if we can provide an appropriate solution to any of these challenges.”

Customized RVB Solution

Rubbercraft provides customers with a totally customised system solution, where the final RVB product supplied meets the specific needs of an individual component, custom designed and manufactured in sizes up to 20 m² (215 ft²). To do this, engineers from Rubbercraft’s technical team based in Long Beach California are involved from the start to ensure that the RVB compound materials used and sheet layering design specification matches customer needs in terms of: heat and pressure processing parameters; any extra release coating requirements, such as FEP/ PTFE; the desired part surface finish and detail; the estimated number of pulls and overall longevity of the RVB to ensure financial payback. Software tools used include: Solidworks, CATIA, MasterCAM, Unigraphics, IGES, STEP, AutoCAD, and Pro-E.

Superior RVB Performance

To provide superior properties and performance in use, Rubbercraft only uses 100% virgin raw material compounds from approved suppliers. The manufacturing process produces improved elastomeric properties, which enables the RVB to consistently produce moulded parts with a superior quality surface finish and dimensional accuracy, as well as providing the added benefits of greater bag longevity, with little if any deterioration in the surface condition or elastomeric properties.

RVB Production Process

Typically, either a silicone rubber (max 150 °C, 302°F) or high rated fluroelastomer (max 200 °C, 392 °F) based raw material compound is specified to produce the initial uncured calendared sheet from which the RVB will be cut once fully cured in a heat treatment oven. The final stage is to cut out the exact size of RVB required and bond into place the edging and outer seals using an RTV silicone adhesive (Room Temperature Vulcanization silicone) system. Multi-layer bags are also assembled using an additional breather layer and integrated vent ports. The bags can include edge seals that can either be integrated into the hard tooling or seal to the hard tooling.

Proven Aircraft Tooling Solutions

Rubbercraft elastomeric tooling solutions have been used by OEMs for a wide variety of aircraft development and production programs, including Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’s A350XWB. Rubbercraft is fully ISO 9001 and AS9100 accredited, with a proven 25 year track record of supplying elastomeric tooling solutions for a wide variety of composites aircraft applications including: winglets, nacelles, wing spars, horizontal stabilizer stiffeners, fuselage, doors and other complex shaped components that require trapped tooling such as bladders or mandrels. A wide range of composite manufacturing processes are supported by Rubbercraft’s solutions, including Inner Mould Line (IML) and Outer Mould Line (OML) designs, Autoclave and Out of Autoclave (OoA) processing.

Rubbercraft will be attending and can be found in Hall 6 Booth D68. We hope to see you there!

Visit the JEC World 2017 website for more information about the event.

Read more about Rubbercraft at JEC World 2017 at the following links: –

Innovation in Textiles >
Inside Composites >
Composites Today >
Composites World >
Net Composites >

Rubbercraft JEC Banner 2017

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