Oven accelerates Formula 1 aerofoil development

Paul Boughton

An increasingly important aspect of many Formula 1 racing teams’ engineering operations are sister companies focused on commercializing and developing Formula 1 spin off technologies and IP into the wider automotive and aerospace engineering sectors, as well as other advanced high performance engineering applications.

Carbolite has many Formula 1 teams amongst its customers so when the company was approached by one the most successful Formula 1 teams on the grid to help ‘give their car wings’ it was taken as read that Carbolite would have a product to solve the racing team’s requirements.

Excellence in engineering is required to stay ahead in Formula 1 and demands that the Milton Keynes based company is continually designing, developing and refining prototype components and sub‑assemblies that need to be built, assembled, tested and then re-engineered to meet specific high performance requirements.

As part of this challenging development cycle Carbolite has supplied them with a customised version of the company’s LGP3-1500 high specification Large General Purpose Oven to implement post curing drying of composite moulds and moisture extraction for adhesives used for a variety of component parts such as carbon fibre composite body parts and aerofoils.

The customised oven ensures reproducibility in the curing cycles by incorporating a controller option which enables five different programmable temperature profiles to be stored and recalled and also includes RS232 communications. The operator can easily select the correct ramp rate and heating duration for the job at hand. The valuable loads and oven are protected by the addition of an independent over temperature protection thermostat and a further option in the form of a top‑mounted moisture / fume extraction fan was also installed, enabling process fumes to be ducted away from the work area.

Based upon Carbolite’s standard design the 1500 litre capacity, Large General Purpose Oven has an operating temperature range 50°C to 300°C with a uniformity of ±5°C control accuracy and ±5°C.  

An additional requirement was customisation of the standard design so that the control panel was side‑mounted rather than in the conventional front mounted position. Relocation of the control panel module required the oven’s air circulation fans and baffle assembly to be mounted into the oven base rather than into the side or rear.
For more information, visit www.carbolite.com

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