Compression Molding - Direct Long Fiber Thermoplastic (DLFT) Process

Direct Long Fiber Thermoplastic (DLFT) Molding

DLFT is a compression molding process that uses a mixture of thermoplastic resins & performance additives with chopped reinforcements. The prepreg material is immediately placed into a mold and cooled under pressure.

Capabilities / Processes / Direct Long Fiber Thermoplastic (DLFT) Molding
Compression Molding SMC / DLFT Volume Graph

Raw Materials used in DLFT

Material development includes a thermoplastic that serves as the “binder” or glue that holds everything together, a reinforcement used to strengthen the material, and other additives used to enhance a quality or characteristic (UV Stability, Color, property, etc.) of the product or reduce cost.

Direct long fiber thermoplastic (DLFT) tooling

Due to the stresses created by high tonnage pressing, typically only P20 steel is used to create two-piece molds. Aluminum and other softer metals are utilized for prototype runs but have a significantly shorter useful life.

DLFT Creates an Industrial Finish

Direct Long Fiber Thermoplastic molded parts can produce decorative surfaces through the use of texture, minimizing the need for post-process finishing.

  • High Volume Programs
    Short (2-4 minute) cycle times and the use of machined tool steel molds support annual program volumes >250,000 units.
  • Part Toughness
    The use of glass and other reinforcing fibers adds greatly to the stiffness of engineered thermoplastics. The combination yields parts that are especially stiff and tough.
  • Geometric Flexibility
    The inherent flow characteristics of thermoplastics supports application to intricate geometries in part design. Additionally, CORE has the ability to design and construct mold actions that mimic traditional injection molding, allowing holes, slots and other complex features to be directly molded into the product. This minimizes or eliminates the need for secondary machining operations.
  • Overall Recyclability
    Thermoplastics are by nature recyclable, and process scrap can be repurposed into graded materials. As finished parts reach the end of their active life, they can also be recycled, and the reinforcing fibers readily separated from the thermoplastic matrix.

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