An industrial material press consists of multiple steel plates called “platens”. These platens are arranged in horizontal layers. Material is placed in between these layers and the layers are pressed together exerting high pressure on the materials between the plates. Often, the plates have holes in them through which a heat transfer fluid (hot oil, water, etc) can be circulated to provide heat in addition to the pressure. This added heat helps the materials to bond to one another under pressure. A temperature control system working in conjunction with a press can heat up the plates, maintain a constant temperature for a set period of time, then cool the process once the materials have “cured” in their position.
Platen presses are used to compress layers or to form materials. Some common uses are pressing and bonding layers of plywood, rubber molding, circuit boards, aircraft parts, furniture, plastic films and many others.
- A detailed drawing of the platens is preferred, indicating flow paths for the thermal fluid, dimensions, materials, etc. of each plate
- The operating conditions are next; heat up and cool down rates, batch cycle times, type of material being processed, etc
- Most platen manufacturers will specify an optimum heat transfer fluid flow rate and the corresponding pressure drop. As a rule of thumb, the fluid velocity through the platens should be about eight feet per second (8 fps). This rate provides optimal turbulence and heat transfer.
- Of course, the overall system fluid volume (HEAT system, piping, platens) is required to determine the proper size of the HEAT unit expansion tank.
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