Good and effective mold design is key to successful blade manufacture. To improve cycle time and have effective process control a quick-reacting heat-up and cool-down rate is necessary. For over 15 years Hexcel has supplied drilled honeycomb for the manufacture of lightweight tooling. The combination of composite tooling material with Aluminum honeycomb provides long life tooling that withstands over 800 cycles despite the difference in thermal expansion between the core material and laminate.
Drilled honeycomb results in very light weight molds with very high stiffness with faster heat-up and cool-down rates for quicker processing. Due to the high stiffness from the honeycomb, less weight is required in the supporting structure and it is easier to lift. All of this results in a lower thermal mass of the tooling which gives higher throughput. The main application for drilled honeycomb so far is for hot air heating and cooling - but designs already exist using the same concept for liquid and electrical heating.