FEP Tubing Expansion by Patented Apparatus & Process
The EBD process for making heat-shrink tubing involves injecting hot air into the constraining chambers to act as an air bearing and keep the tubing from sticking.FEP and other materials that require constraining during expansion can now be done without using silicone oil. Some of the important parameters are:
1. Balancing the externally injected air pressure with the internal expansion air.
2. Controlling injected air temperature so that it maintains the expansion process at varying flow rates.
3. Adjusting the pressure and temperature in multiple injection areas to maintain the process flow.
4. Connecting the pressure, temperature, flow rate, draw ratio and line speed controls to keep the processes moving automatically at production speeds.
This process was made to work on a basic expanding machine using manual controls. Constantly adjusting several independent temperature controllers, flow controllers, pressure regulators and line speed allowed it to work up to 1 FPM. Production rate using silicone oil is expected to be 5-8 FPM, so automated controls were needed to make this new process practical. Development continued on the controls and process so that current speeds and quality are comparable to the standard silicone-lubricated process. Patents awarded in 2016 cover the inventive process and apparatus. We are now expanding FEP tubing at production rates from reel to reel. Potential customers have been providing spools of tubing for experimental expansion for a few years. We are building production machines in anticipation of offering this capability to the industry.
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EBD has a solution for both types of expansion. Our modular tooling allows for multiple of expanded tube sizes to be run on the same machine. Just let us know what you need!