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Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

HSGM Develops New Knife Design For Vectran® Fiber Fabrics

Germany-based Heissschneide- Geräte und -Maschinen (HSGM) GmbH, a manufacturer of heat cutters with US sales and distribution handled by its Duncan, S.C.-based subsidiary HSGM Inc., , has developed a new cutting blade suitable for hot cutting fabrics made with Vectran® liquid crystal polymer fiber. Hot cutting involves heating the blade of the cutting tool to a temperature above the zero-strength temperature of the fiber, which also creates a welded edge as the material is cut.
Manufactured by Fort Mill, S.C.-based Kuraray America Inc., Vectran exhibits properties such as high cut and abrasion resistance that quickly dull conventional cutting blades and reduce cutting speed. Kuraray contacted HSGM about the problem through its new materials testing program and sent some Vectran samples for trials. After tests at its laboratory in Germany, HSGM determined units HSG-1-VW and HSG-03-VW with blade type HSS15°-7mm to be the most appropriate for cutting Vectran. According to the company, the cutters also can be used as an alternative to high-speed saws for cutting rigid composite laminates containing Vectran.
“We found the Vectran very difficult to cut by conventional means,” said Stephan Herrmann, general manager, HSGM. “However, because of the fiber’s unique thermal properties, we were able to soon find the right combination of heater and blade design. Comparing hot cutting of Vectran to hot cutting of aramids, Vectran could be hot cut easier and a little bit faster.”
“With its high cut resistance and other properties, Vectran fiber provides an alternative for product designers and engineers who want to use high-tech materials but have had problems cutting aramids,” said Dr. Forrest Sloan, manager, international marketing, Kuraray America’s Vectran Division.

January 6, 2009