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Roto-molded Aircraft, UAV's and sUAS's.
Staples, MN – A MN company is exploring single and double walled plastic rotomolded designs for Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAV's) and Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS's). A Land/Sea plane is being developed as are larger aircraft components.
By: Andy Stone
Rotational molding has several advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. A one-piece product design reduces or eliminates assembly cost. The mold parting (split) line allows for designing complex parts. Threaded inserts and other mounting features can be molded into place. A wide range of surface finishes is possible; textured, smooth, or polished. Low residual stresses on the finished part. There are thermal stresses during the cooling process, but no forming stresses because no external pressure is ever applied. Tools hold predefined amounts of material so there is very little waste in material. Tooling is less expensive. Due to its low pressure operation, the wall thickness of the molding chamber can be thinner than those for other molding methods. Finally, roto-molding is suitable for both low-volume prototypes and high-volume production runs.
Widmer's design includes his patented "kiss-off" approach for rotationally molding large items. A rotational molded structure has parallel molded walls interconnected by rows of spaced apart, molded V-shaped connectors. The connectors are formed in the rotational molding process. One of the mold halves forms the outside finished shape and the other half has one or more rows of V-shaped indentations projecting toward an opposite mold surface. The V-shaped indentations have apexes that are spaced apart from the opposite mold surface by a distance that, during the molding process, will fill with molten material to form a molded connection between the finished hull walls. More information on this process is located at http://www.prlog.org/
This may be the beginning of a whole new way to build aircraft.
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About Stanley Widmer Associates, Inc. We Design, Engineer & Manufacture with Advanced Methods and Materials. Stanley Widmer Associates, Inc., founded in 1971, has offices in Staples, MN and is a leader in the Rotational Molding and Marine markets. More information about Stanley Widmer Associates, Inc. can be found at http://www.widmerboat.com/