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Fondarex SA: the chill-block, a centrepiece to reconsider

Publié le 04/06/2018

Fondarex SA manufactures and markets vacuum systems for the casting of complex metal parts. The company wishes to revisit the thermal and physical phenomena at stake in the chill-block.

The company

Founded in 1946, the family business Fondarex SA, located on the Riviera, has about thirty employees. It manufactures and markets vacuum systems for the casting of complex metal parts (aluminum, zinc, magnesium, bronze, brass). Fondarex main customers are automotive manufacturers and subcontractors, such as Audi, BMW, Nissan, Renault or Tesla. The company is the worldwide leader with its vacuum systems giving guarantee of an economical production of high quality metal parts.

The project

During the injection of aluminum into the mold, a vacuum is created and the gases in the cavity are evacuated. The chill-block, a centrepiece (see illustration) located at the outlet of the mold, is used to slow down the molten aluminum and to ensure a complete filling of the mold. The geometry of this piece is critical to ensure a good evacuation of the gas out of the mold and a good cooling of the molten aluminum. In order to differentiate itself from the competition, Fondarex wished to carry out a fundamental study to revisit the thermal and physical phenomena at stake. Thanks to the intervention of Promove, the association for economic promotion of the Riviera and Lavaux, an innovation mentor from Alliance visits Fondarex in order to analyze its needs. After a search in Alliance academic network, the innovation mentor connects the company with Professor Da Riva of the Institute of Thermal Engineering at HEIG-VD.

An analytical study was first performed to understand the impact of the different parameters: the exchange surface, the material used for the chill-block and the geometry.

Based on the recommendations of this study, a new design has been developed and a new product called "Dynamic Vent" has been designed. It is now in the marketing phase. Thanks to the new design, this element is more compact and lighter than the current chill-block, which facilitates its placement in the mold, reduces the projected area and reduces the closing force of the injection molding machine. In addition, the new geometry of the profile shows a reduction of the air resistance, which improves the evacuation performance of the air in the mold. It was presented to the public for the first time at the Euroguss fair in Nuremberg in January 2018.

Contact: alliance@alliance-tt.ch