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SMC at its best: Design for Manufacture19 January 2021
SMC and BMC are composite materials ideal for making large, light, and intricate parts that combine structural performance with a smooth surface finish. For that reason, SMC and BMC are increasingly used in a broad range of end-use applications and markets. The European Alliance for SMC BMC is launching a series of design guides that explain to designers how these versatile materials can be used, and manufactured in larger production series.
From the coffee machines and cookers in our homes, to the electrical cabinets on our streets and the body panels on our cars, SMC and BMC have been present in our lives for decades. In these, and countless other applications, SMC and BMC offer competitive and sustainable alternatives to metals and thermoplastics, and yet these composite materials are still underutilised by many designers and manufacturers.
SMC/BMC materials can be thought of as bridging the gap between steel, aluminium and thermoplastics. They deliver parts that weigh less than metals but provide higher strength and stiffness than many thermoplastics. They are a particularly good choice for components with complex shapes.
With SMC/BMC it is possible to design a highly complex, multi-functional part to replace 20-25 steel components. This capacity to consolidate parts at reduced weight has been successfully exploited in numerous designs, including automotive decklids, doors and front-end modules.
Helping you to design great parts
The design of an SMC/BMC part is not solely a job for the design team. The design must fulfill the functional requirements of the application, but it is also essential that the part can be manufactured as efficiently and economically as possible. Developing the design, the material, the moulds and the production process in parallel is the key to success.
The European Alliance for SMC BMC is launching a series of design guides to address a number of frequently asked questions concerning design and manufacture of SMC/BMC components and offer some practical tips to ensure successful deployment of these versatile materials.
In this first design guide we will discuss the design process, potential design pitfalls, tool design considerations, the cost of an SMC mould, and the question whether to source production in-house or externally.
Please click here to download a copy of the design guide.
“SMC BMC materials are well known in the industry, and are increasingly found to offer a great combination of performance and cost”, comments Joan Montobbio, Board Chairman of the European Alliance for SMC BMC. “Through offering our experience on how to best use SMC and BMC, we believe we can help designers to take full benefit of what these versatile materials have to offer.”