RST Process Overview
Quickstep's patented "Resin Spray Transfer" (RST) technology represents a considerable shift from the current composite manufacturing techniques as it provides a complete manufacturing solution - from lay-up to cure - all using robotics to deliver high performance, high quality finished parts at high processing speeds with reduced costs.
RST is a robotised lay up technology where resin is sprayed on the mould and is infused in a dry preform "through the fibre" compared to "resin along fibre" as seen with resin transfer moulding or other infusion processes.
To achieve these objectives, RST requires a high speed curing process that controls exotherm - which is where the Quickstep Process provides the vital shift from traditional manufacturing technologies.
The Quickstep Process uses patented low pressure heated fluid curing technology to cure the composite materials rapidly, efficiently and with a high quality output. Its enclosed clamshell-like tools surround the part with heat transfer fluid separated by a bladder. The energy is transferred rapidly from the fluid to the part enabling rapid liquefaction of the resin, better wetting of the fibre for a more effective bonding of the fibre and the resin and therefore a stronger part.
The Quickstep Process not only allows for very rapid ramp up of temperature and rapid curing but it also controls exotherm as the part is surrounded by fluid capable of both heating and abosorbing heat – exotherm.
It is this unique combination of both robotic layup, resin through fibre transfer and rapid heating that allows RST to deliver component parts at speed and with high finish "Class A" automotive standards.
Download Quickstep's presentation at the JEC Asia Automotive Show for a full overview of RST.
In the RST process, molten resin is sprayed directly onto a mould or preform by a robot and, due to the inherent rheology of the resin, the resin solidifies and cools upon contact.
In a separate production process, the dry fibres are pre-assembled or “preformed” for the part being manufactured and then placed onto the sprayed solid resin by a robot. In this “solid” state the resin is in intimate contact with the mould or preform but cannot wet-out the fibres, allowing evacuation paths for degassing until the part is cured and heated. The preform of fibre and resin is then placed under vacuum and loaded into the Quickstep curing chambers where the pack is heated. The resin is thus melted and the fibres wet out and are finally cured.
Tool is sprayed with molten resin, which instantly “freezes” to the tool face
Pre-manufactured dry pack is placed on tool. Vacuum bag is applied.
Prepared tool is put into Quickstep pressure chambers and then cured.