Polyurethane is one of the most workable materials on the planet, and MUI is taking advantage of this quality with extensive machining and equipment options. Although MUI primarily served the oil and gas industry for decades, it now works with clients in all kinds of industries, and has expanded its polyurethane offerings. This is especially important for facilities that require custom polyurethane components, as it is usually impossible to find a more cost-effective and more durable alternative.
Machining and Equipment Technologies
Polyurethane can be fabricated in an impressive number of ways, and as long as it is kept at a stable temperature during production, it is extremely flexible. Polyurethane, of course, can be molded as well, but sometimes molding isn’t enough to produce a complex, intricately designed component. When that is the case, MUI can further work polyurethane using these technologies:
- Precise vertical milling, using 2D, 3D and 2.5D tool paths – Vertical milling is one of the most ubiquitous systems used for working polyurethane, and is ideal for creating extremely high quality steel molds. That’s because vertical milling can be used for die sinking, or buzzing out cavities in steel blocks. Vertical milling is therefore preferred for detailed work, and with MUI’s plentiful tool path options, it can make any cut necessary when creating intricate molds or components.
- Surface mold milling, with precise contouring – Polyurethane fabricators differ greatly in how precise they can fashion a mold. And the more detailed the mold, the more effective the polyurethane component. Surface mold milling is a critical element of mold creation, and with tight contouring, molds of any design are possible, even if they feature varying depths.
- Turning capabilities, including Y-axis turning and 2D and 3D tool paths – Usually, turning is done only on an X-axis, limiting its shaping efficiency. The worked material is spun on a lathe while the cutting tool is locked in on its axis and sped back and forth. While this is a highly efficient option for shaping the material down to a desired depth, it doesn’t offer much in the way of advanced design. With Y-axis turning, MUI has expanded the capabilities of its tooling technology, enhancing the linear motion of the cutting tool and speeding up production time.
- Adaptive roughing used with milling processes – Adaptive roughing is an upgrade over the traditional form of shaping, known as offset roughing. Adaptive rouging brings a number of benefits to a milling tool, as during cutting, adaptive roughing technology regularly checks to see how engaged the tool is with the worked material. When necessary, adaptive roughing uses this value to avoid full width cuts, which are almost always less precise and not as fast. Adaptive roughing increases tool stability, which allows for even greater precision, and it uses the tool to remove material over several passes, instead of making deep cuts. In all, adaptive roughing means faster shaping and improved feed rates. These are major benefits for a company that prioritizes lead times.
- Extended milling capabilities, on all three axes – MUI’s milling equipment can accommodate material that is sized up to 64”, 32” and 30”. Its turning equipment can accommodate material sized up to 25” and 60”. This is a greater range of sizes than most machining shops are capable of, and allows MUI to produce molds and components both large and small. In general, size is not a limiting factor for component designs.
Marine Urethane has the equipment for any custom polyurethane design, and it also has the engineering team to back that technology up. Although clients typically approach MUI with their own design drawings, MUI can produce those drawings for a client from nothing but a few sketches. From a component’s concept, the engineers can develop prototypes and test the component extensively. As this process usually requires custom mold creation, the machining and equipment options play a major role in the design and implementation of custom polyurethane components.
Polyurethane is increasingly establishing itself as a frontline material in many industries. From the automotive to the aerospace field, custom polyurethane components are a mainstay, and MUI’s machining technology means it can create any custom components a client would need.