Small footprint Vertical Transfer Autoclave for in-cell Impregnation
A Vacuum Impregnation Vessel for any media…

The Challenge

Impregnation Services was recently approached by a leading supplier of complex Aerospace quality cast parts. Our customer had developed a successful atmospheric ‘soak’ process to impregnate their castings with resin. The 48Hr process stabilised the castings and increased yield but, they needed to speed things up… The solution we designed and delivered results in an autoclave that meets the customers individual requirements and significantly improves their processing time.

The Assesment

The customer and our student engineer ran some initial trials in the lab here at ISL to test vacuum impregnation as a solution for speeding up the production process. The trials were a success and showed better resin penetration from a 20 minute vacuum assisted impregnation process than the existing 48Hr soak system. We then worked closely with the customer to develop a production ready Vacuum Impregnation Machine with the following constraints:

Small footprint – Factory floor space is expensive and typical vacuum impregnation plants are space hungry so a single combined resin storage and impregnation chamber with square (cubic) construction means all the internal space is useable (cylindrical vessels are the obvious choice for vacuum but a cubic workload needs a big cylinder for clearance). 

Repeatable managed faster shopfloor process – The machine should be easily loaded, PLC recipe controlled, completely self contained and able to manage itself on a day to day basis. The resin in this process is water based and our trials indicated that the high vacuum involved would constantly draw moisture from the resin which would affect the viscosity and thus it’s ability to penetrate the cast parts. The machine would therefore need to be able measure and manage the viscosity of the stored resin.  

The Solution

The box autoclave that we designed for this application operates on a simple vertical transfer principal. The parts are loaded into a basket that is suspended over the stored resin. The chamber door is then closed, and vacuum is applied. Once the vacuum setpoint has been reached and held for a short time, the workload is lowered into the resin and once fully emersed, the vacuum is then released.  After the time specified for the process, the basket is then raised and allowed to drain before off loading onto the workshop trolleys that we supplied with the system.

When the machine has down-time it is able to maintain itself… The internal basket has a slotted base that slows its descent down through the resin. By carefully measuring the rate of descent, we can monitor the viscosity of the resin in the system. The machine is then able to choose between water or resin to top-up before re-using the internal basket base to mix and then re-check the viscosity.

The chamber, pumps, filters, pipe-work and other ‘wetted’ parts of the system were all manufactured in stainless steel and a recirculating diaphragm pump and filter system keeps the resin clean.

Features & Benefits

  • A Scalable Process
  • Increased productivity
  • Any resin or media can be used
  • Significantly reduced turnaround times
  • Reduced chance of leakage or spillages as the process is contained in a single unit
  • Designed to split in half for ease of cleaning & maintenance
  • Sophisticated Programmable Logic Controlled (PLC) system
  • Manufactured in a square shape to ensure all of the space is usable, improving efficiency.
  • Integral Bund tray to minimise leakage on to the factory floor.
  • Automatic viscosity and level control.

Are you looking to buy vacuum impregnation equipment or are about to embark on a large project that is likely to justify installation of your own impregnation equipment?  Call us on 0161 344 1004 to see how we can help you. We are the UK’s oldest (Established 1964) and best impregnation experts.

At ISL we offer:

  • Plant design and consultancy
  • Modification and conversion of existing plant
  • Plant refurbishment
  • PLC control updates and conversions
  • Used plant and equipment from stock
  • Service and maintenance