Low Temperature Molding (LTM) Technology for High-Quality Composite Tooling

When it comes to the production of high-quality composite tooling, Solvay’s lowest temperature cure epoxy systems, distributed through Composites One, bring a new level of performance to today’s composites tooling marketplace.

LTM® (Low-Temperature Molding) epoxy tooling is especially suited for manufacturing large structures with specific design requirements. Low-Temperature Molding is intended for autoclave curing. LTM chemistry allows for enough strength to be established in the tool laminate from a low-temperature autoclave cure. LTM has an initial cure temperature ranging from as low as room temperature to 104°F/ 40°C.

The tool is then de-molded from the master model and can be post-cured at any temperature in an oven. Composite materials that are made using the LTM method offer comparable properties to standard materials cured at higher temperatures and pressures.

When time, money, and accuracy matter
Low-Temperature Molding can fabricate tools directly from the low-cost master model while minimizing the number of manufacturing steps and maximizing accuracy. Every molding process from the casting of the machine master to the final product introduces the potential for geometric error. Since LTM only requires two processing steps between the master model and final composites component, the final component is achieved with maximum accuracy.

LTM processing is affordable based on the reduced initial expense and energy usage. It presents a viable alternative for prototypes, small production runs, and large structures where high-temperature molding can pose cost-prohibitive. It is also easily accessible and usable, available in broad stock roll goods, or in cut pieces for customers who prefer it.

LTM materials and processes offer further advantages over traditional processes when it comes to strength, toughness and accuracy. Its many potential benefits include flexibility, structural efficiency, productivity and superior handling characteristics, and molded surface quality.

LTM epoxy tooling prepegs
LTM can prove effective for large and complex tools with an exceptional molded surface quality, and manufacturers using LTM methods should be aware that it requires care and consideration with material management. Good tool handling practices and strong service maintenance procedures are critical to maximizing the lifespan of composite tools. LTM epoxy tooling prepregs set the standard for “as molded” accuracy and epoxy tools can last approximately 300+ cycles, providing continual value for applications in aerospace, automotive and industrial applications, among others.

Composites One has a proven service history in a wide range of LTM epoxy systems and stocks all the materials needed to build high-quality tools, with the technical support and hands-on guidance to be successful.

Learn more about composite tooling solutions available from Solvay and Composites One.