Advanced manufacturing depends on autoclave processes to consistently deliver fit-for-purpose parts with wide-ranging applications.
The composites sector is perhaps the largest industry that takes advantage of the use of autoclaves, being used to process carbon fibre products for the automotive, aerospace, military and research facilities
In the glass industry, the curing process is essential to the manufacture of laminated, bullet-resistant and auto glass
The building materials industry depends on autoclaves to produce parts such as autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC), fibercement and sand lime bricks
In the rubber industry, the autoclaving is a critical process for rubber hose manufacturing and other rubber vulcanisation processes
You can read about the medical waste applications of autoclaves in this article.
To serve our customers’ autoclave requirements, we have partnered with Akarmak, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of fully bespoke autoclaves, allowing us to supply autoclaves ranging from 1 metre in diameter up to 5.5 metres and provide vessels up to 60 metres long!
VFE brings further value to all new autoclaves by supplying them with our state-of-the-art Autoclave Management and Control System (AMCS).
In this article, discover the applications of new autoclaves and how VFE’s partnership with Akarmak could help you to improve efficiencies, ramp up production and keep operations running.
5 signs a new autoclave could ramp up your production
An autoclave is a sizable investment, but there are several instances where they are integral to both short-term production and the long-term future of your operations.
1....launching a new product?
While prototyping, it is not uncommon for your existing/second-hand autoclaves to meet your operational requirements. At this stage, production volumes are low and demand is limited to prototype models. But full-scale production is a different matter.
A new product launch will place significant demands on production. In some cases, a site may not have the capacity to produce a new product or its parts without expanding its operations.
Solution: A new autoclave will increase your capacity, enabling you to ramp up production around the needs of the new product, keeping operations running and enabling the business to take its product to market.
2....setting up new composite facilities/factories?
Autoclaves will form a key part of your new factory. But how many will you need and in what sizes to fit your floor plan without compromising their operational capabilities?
Solution: A fully bespoke autoclave will ensure your kit meets the requirements of your operations while minimising its footprint to fit neatly into your new facility’s floor plan. VFE’s design team will also be available to support with factory layouts and floor plans to ensure your operations run smoothly and efficiently.
3....investing in research and development?
Production demands can mean your existing autoclaves do not have the capacity to meet new research and development (R&D) initiatives. But in order to innovate your products and processes, you require their use on a daily or weekly basis.
Solution: Businesses with significant R&D requirements will benefit from a dedicated autoclave, enabling them to run tests and push the limits of what their products can deliver without impacting production times or operational capacity.
4....a university with practical engineering requirements?
At VFE, we have long recognised that the technical expertise of our staff is what sets us apart in the market and positions us as a leader. With the industry facing an engineering shortage crisis, it is vital that universities continue to educate, train and inspire the next generation of engineers to drive manufacturing forward. On-site equipment plays a key role in this.
Solution: A highly engineered autoclave affords students the ability to get hands-on experience with technology at the forefront of the industry, invaluable for when they come to apply what they have learned as the engineers and technicians of tomorrow.
5....currently reliant on old or outdated autoclaves?
As a core process at the heart of composite operations, autoclaves are subject to high temperatures and pressures on a frequent basis. Reliance on older models could be reducing your efficiencies or limiting output, not to speak of the potential health, safety and compliance issues that accompany outdated or failing equipment.
Solution: If autoclave maintenance costs are becoming unsustainable and downtime is beginning to affect production, it is a good time to consider upgrading to a new autoclave. A fully bespoke autoclave could reduce the cost and frequency of maintenance, improve autoclave efficiencies, reduce risks to operators and production, and lead to the manufacture of higher-quality parts.
Partnering with Akarmak to bring you exceptional autoclaves
VFE’s partnership with Akarmak opens up the UK composite market to fully bespoke autoclaves from one of the biggest and most reliable names in the autoclave industry.
Since 1990, Akarmak has been offering highly engineered and top-quality autoclaves designed to its customers’ specifications. It has the capacity to manufacture autoclaves, including bayonet door close systems, from 1 metre to 5.5 metres in diameter and up to 60 metres long, to suit a wide range of industries and applications. Every model is backed by the following certifications and can be designed with the subsequent standards:
Pressure Equipment Directive 2014/68/EU (PED)
Simple Pressure Vessels Directive 2014/29/EU (SPVD)
ASME SEC VIII Div. 1 (U&S)
AD 2000 HP0
Other certifications that might be requested by authorities of different countries and jurisdictions.
Autoclave Management and Control System (AMCS) is specifically designed to facilitate the integrated management and control of autoclaves across your site. Automate cycles, gain visibility over autoclave performance and control multiple machines from a single location. Compliant with AMS2750F and NADCAP, it is already being used in aerospace production and extensively within the composite manufacturing and motorsport industries.
Every Akarmak autoclave comes with a 10-year safety guarantee as part of CE, with extended warranties available. The autoclaves can also be equipped with optional features such as vacuum, cooling as well as pressurising units and autoclave loading trolleys.
And because we know that manufacturing excellence depends on more than just the product alone, we offer all our autoclave customers emergency call-outs in the form of our Premier Service, giving you the peace of mind that our service and calibration engineers are on call 24/7 to respond to your requests.
For more information about our partnership with Akarmak, or to talk to one of our team about your autoclave requirements, click the button below and get in touch today.