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Uniform Temperatures

In a conventional autoclave, heat enters the aft end of the autoclave and circulates through the entire length and circumference by means of a series of ducts and fans. Attaining proper airflow is critical to achieving uniform temperature distribution. Design of the overall vessel, closures, ducts and fans becomes especially challenging for large autoclaves. Taricco Corp. (Long Beach, Calif., U.S.A.) specializes in large autoclaves, with inside diameters of 1.8 to 7m (one current project has a usable inside diameter of 7m/20 plus ft), and lengths of 46.2m/150 ft or more. Company owner Tari Taricco and his engineering team carefully engineer the duct, fan and motor systems for each new autoclave and have developed specialized door hinges and closures for the larger, heavier doors, to minimize sag that can result in leaks due to door/seal misalignment.

Taricco uses its own TCS Thermal Control System. Running on Windows computers, TCS is fully programmable and has no physical limit on the number or types of sensors it can handle. The system can simultaneously control and monitor temperature, pressure, vacuum, and other parameters. Cures proceed automatically, but TCS monitors the sensors for deviations in cure parameters and sends the operator a message if there is a problem. Users can print out standard or customized reports, and analyze TCS data in an Excel spreadsheet or in its native Microsoft Access database format. A single computer can control one or several autoclaves, and a built-in security system provides secure access over a network.

Composites World Article

Date: 2003-03-01