US20090211738A1 - System and Method for Continuous Rapid Cooling of Molten Materials to Produce Uniformly-Shaped Solid Forms - Google Patents

System and Method for Continuous Rapid Cooling of Molten Materials to Produce Uniformly-Shaped Solid Forms Download PDF

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US20090211738A1
US20090211738A1 US12391236 US39123609A US2009211738A1 US 20090211738 A1 US20090211738 A1 US 20090211738A1 US 12391236 US12391236 US 12391236 US 39123609 A US39123609 A US 39123609A US 2009211738 A1 US2009211738 A1 US 2009211738A1
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Prior art keywords
cylinder
system
tray
coolant
cooling
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Abandoned
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US12391236
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Dennis Edwin Neal
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Dennis Edwin Neal
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28DHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA DO NOT COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT
    • F28D11/00Heat-exchange apparatus employing moving conduits
    • F28D11/02Heat-exchange apparatus employing moving conduits the movement being rotary, e.g. performed by a drum or roller

Abstract

A system and method is disclosed for rapid cooling of hot molten liquid chemicals, and other materials, that go through a phase change to become a solid upon cooling, formed continuously on a single, rotating cylinder having detachable molds, to produce a high volume of uniformly shaped, solid forms.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • Priority is claimed to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/066,855 filed on Feb. 22, 2008.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present disclosure relates generally to rapid cooling of chemicals and molten materials, and, more particularly, to a system and method for rapid cooling of hot molten liquid chemicals, and other materials, that go through a phase change to become a solid upon cooling, formed continuously on a single, rotating cylinder having detachable molds, to produce a high volume of uniformly shaped, solid forms.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Conventional systems for cooling molten chemicals and other materials that go through a phase change from a liquid or molten form to a solid form, often comprise a system whereby molten materials are dropped or forced onto, and are thereafter usually spread upon, one or more linear belts for cooling. Such systems require a large amount of floor space. Additionally, such systems typically require the use of rotary cutting equipment in order to produce a uniformly shaped solid form from the cooled material. Such systems are, accordingly, both capital and space intensive, and can, therefore, be undesirable.
  • During development of the system and method of the present invention, it was recognized that there is an unmet need for a system and method for rapid cooling of hot molten liquid chemicals, and other materials, that go through a phase change to become a solid upon cooling, whereby subunits thereof may be formed continuously on a single, rotating cylinder having detachable molds, to produce a high volume of uniformly shaped, solid forms, all in association with a method that is safer and more cost effective in operation.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the system and method of the present disclosure overcome the above-mentioned disadvantages, and meet the recognized need, by providing a system and method for rapid cooling of hot molten liquid chemicals, and other materials, that go through a phase change to become a solid upon cooling, formed continuously on a single, rotating cylinder having detachable molds, to produce a high volume of uniformly shaped, solid forms.
  • According to its major aspects, and broadly stated, an exemplary device and system according to the present disclosure comprises a hollow, slowly rotating cylinder through which a coolant fluid is passed. The outside of this cylinder has a removable, conformed tray that is preferably made of a material that serves as a heat sink to remove and conduct heat from the hot material into the coolant fluid. The removable, conformed tray is designed with multiple cavities of uniform size into which the material flows, and travels, until it is cooled to the point it becomes solid. The tray can easily be replaced or otherwise changed-out to accommodate a tray that has differing sizes or differing shaped cavities in order to form different sizes or shapes of solid forms. It is also possible to have an impression at the bottom of each cavity to identify a product number, manufacturer, or the like.
  • The coolant fluid preferably will be within a temperature range from cooling tower water, chilled water, to cryogenic liquids. The coolant is introduced into the hollow shaft via rotary unions. The shaft is supported on pillow blocks on either side of the cylinder and is preferably driven by an electrically powered motor to achieve a variable speed measured in rotations per minute.
  • As the cylinder rotates, a molten material is introduced on a top side of the rotating cylinder, at approximately a 12 o'clock position, and is immediately spread uniformly with an attached stationary, preferably elastomeric wiper, into the line of multiple cavities. The molten material immediately begins to cool into a slid form as the cylinder slowly rotates, with the liquid coolant passing through the inside of the cylinder.
  • As the cylinder rotates to between a 4 to 8 o'clock position, as viewed from a shaft end, the individual product forms dislodge from the cavities and fall into a receiver hopper for packaging.
  • The speed of product formation is directly related to the rate at which the heat can be removed from the molten material. The primary variables include the cylinder and coolant temperatures, the cylinder and coolant heat absorption characteristics, the approach temperature of the molten material before it becomes solid, the rotational speed of the cylinder (the residence time of the product against the cooled cylinder), the width and diameter of the cylinder, and the like.
  • Accordingly, one feature and advantage of the system and method of the present invention is the ability to provide uniformity in product form not presently attainable by prior art systems and/or methods.
  • Another feature and advantage of the system and method of the present invention is the ability to provide flexibility to quickly change the process and system to produce alternate shapes.
  • Another and further feature and advantage of the system and method of the present invention is to provide a means to label and/or mark each product form in a manner not presently attainable by prior art systems and/or methods.
  • Another and still further feature and advantage of the system and method of the present invention is to increase productivity and/or forming rates over that presently attainable by prior art systems and/or methods by using appropriate ancillary equipment and coolant media.
  • Another feature and yet still further advantage of the system and method of the present invention is to provide such functionality and features with lesser capital outlay than prior art methods, and which system occupies a fraction of the floor space required through use of prior art systems and/or methods.
  • These and other features and advantages of the system and method of the present invention will become apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the art after reading the following Detailed Description of the Invention and Claims in light of the accompanying drawing Figures.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Accordingly, the system and method of the present invention will be understood best through consideration of, and with reference to, the following drawings, viewed in conjunction with the Detailed Description of the Invention referring thereto, in which like reference numbers throughout the various drawings designate like structure, and in which:
  • FIG. 1 shows an exemplary system according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 shows an end view of a portion of a preferred embodiment of the system of FIG. 1 taken at view A-A;
  • FIG. 3 is a plan view of a conformed tray and individual mold elements of a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 4 is a cutaway section showing representative details of a plurality of mold elements according to a preferred embodiment of the conformed tray of FIG. 3 taken at section 4-4.
  • It is to be noted that the drawing Figures presented are intended solely for the purpose of illustration and that they are, therefore, neither desired nor intended to limit the claimed invention to any or all of the exact details of construction shown, except insofar as they may be deemed essential to the claimed invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • In describing preferred embodiments of the system and method of the present disclosure illustrated in the drawing Figures, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The claimed invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.
  • It will be further understood that the terms, “chemical,” and “material,” and their respective plural forms, as used herein, are intended to describe any of a variety of those organic and/or inorganic chemicals, compounds, materials, composites, emulsions, solutions, and the like, that go through a phase change from a fluid form, and typically a molten fluid form, to become a solid upon cooling. By way of non-limiting example, such materials might comprise glues, adhesives, plastics, and the like.
  • The invention disclosure set forth hereinbelow generally provides a system and method for rapid cooling of typically hot, molten chemicals and/or other materials that go through a phase change to become a solid upon cooling. A single, rotating cylinder, preferably having formed, detachable molds, produces a continuous, high volume of uniformly shaped, solid forms. To achieve this functionality, the cylinder is provided with an associated, and largely internal, fluid coolant system for chilling the cylinder surface and associated molds.
  • Accordingly, and in that form of the preferred embodiment of the system and method of the present disclosure chosen for purposes of illustration, FIG. 1 shows system 100. Central to system 100 is cylinder 110, best described as a partially hollow drum. Cylinder 110 preferably is mounted on a suitable mechanical framework 120 for overall support, and for attachment of such ancillary systems, controls, and devices as may be necessary for safe and effective operation of system 100. Cylinder 110 is provided with width W and diameter D sufficient to accommodate the intended application, and in view of the heat transfer requirements of system 100.
  • As further described hereinbelow, and with reference now to FIGS. 2-4, cylinder 110 comprises a hollow, slowly rotating drum element, preferably formed of aluminum or other efficient heat transfer material, through which coolant fluid F is passed.
  • The outside of cylinder 110 is provided to fit thereto a preferably removable, conformed tray 130 that is further preferably made of a material that serves as a heat sink to remove and conduct heat from a hot material M into coolant fluid F. Tray 130 is conformed in its curvature and dimensional size to closely overlay cylinder 110, either in whole or in part, in order to maximize the heat transfer potential based upon a close relative fit therebetween.
  • As will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art, and as described above, tray 130 may be provided as a plurality of trays, each formed, for example, to cover a portion of cylinder 110. In some applications, and for example, such an arrangement may be preferable for convenience of manufacture of a tray 130; and/or for convenience in handling and attachment of a tray 130 to cylinder 110; and/or for convenience of maintenance of cylinder 110, tray 130, or system 100. It will be appreciated that tray 130, whether in singular or plural forms, may be attached to the surface of cylinder 110 by appropriate clamps, clasps, fittings, screw or bolting arrangements, or the like, with specific means to provide quick attachment and detachment of tray 130 being preferable.
  • It will also be appreciated that a heat transfer agent 115, such as cement, ceramic, metalized resin, or the like, may be applied between the surface of cylinder 110 and the bottom of tray 130 in order to provide more thorough and effective heat transfer between these elements, and/or to provide for adhesive, mechanical, and/or other forms of bonding of tray 130 to cylinder 110.
  • Removable, conformed tray 130 further is designed and provided with multiple cavities 140, preferably of uniform size and shape, into which material M flows, and travels, until it is cooled to the point said material M becomes solid. Tray 130 can easily be replaced or otherwise changed-out to accommodate a tray that has differing sizes or differing shaped cavities in order to provide different sizes or shapes of resulting solid forms.
  • Similarly, each cavity 140 may be provided with one or more feature to enable release of the cooled, molded form from each cavity 140. By way of example, and with continuing reference to FIG. 4, each cavity 140 may be provided with outwardly angled or tapered walls 145, as is well-known in the molding and casting arts, to enable release of a form from cavity 140. It is also possible, and in some applications it is preferable, to have an indicia at the bottom of each cavity 140 to identify a product number, manufacturer, or the like.
  • Coolant fluid F preferably will be provided within a user defined temperature range, for example, from cooling tower water, to chilled water, to cryogenic liquids or gases. Coolant fluid F is introduced into hollow shaft 150 via rotary unions 160. Shaft 150 is supported, for example, on pillow blocks 170 on either side of cylinder 110 and is preferably driven, through operation of pulleys or gears 180, 190 and belt or chain 200, by electrical or fluid powered motor 210 to achieve, at the election or selection of a user, either a fixed or a variable speed measured, for example, in rotations per minute.
  • With continuing reference to FIG. 2, and as just described above, coolant fluid F is preferably pumped or otherwise injected into hollow shaft 150 through rotary union 160. Being constrained preferably by sealed endcaps 119, coolant fluid F is thereafter distributed or forced into space S between cylinder 110 and an interior, preferably coaxially aligned pipe 118. Coolant fluid F may then be distributed or forced throughout space S to exit through a distal end of hollow shaft 150 and a second rotary union 160. It will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that space S may comprise a wholly open space, or may be provided with channeling, baffling, piping, or other fluid control means in order to direct coolant fluid F through space S in a manner best suited to preferred heat transfer and performance constraints.
  • Still referring to FIG. 2, and according to the device, system, and method of the present invention, as cylinder 110 rotates, molten material M is introduced on a top side of rotating cylinder 110, at approximately a 12 o'clock position, and is immediately spread uniformly with attached stationary, and preferably elastomeric, wiper 220 into the line of multiple cavities 140. It will be recognized that wiper 220 preferably is formed from high temperature silicone in order to take advantage of its temperature resistant characteristics, its resistance against many deleterious chemicals, its inertness to reaction with many chemicals, as well as its relative ease of cleaning.
  • Molten material M immediately begins to cool into a solid form as cylinder 110 slowly rotates, with coolant fluid F passing through the inside of cylinder 110.
  • As cylinder 110 rotates, for example, in a direction as indicated by arrow R in FIG. 2, to a position between approximately 4 to 8 o'clock, as viewed from a shaft end, the now cooled, individual product forms dislodge from the cavities and fall into a receiver hopper for packaging.
  • The speed of product formation is directly related to the rate at which the heat can be removed from molten material M. The primary variables include cylinder and coolant temperatures, cylinder and coolant heat absorption characteristics, the approach temperature of molten material M before it becomes solid, the rotational speed of cylinder 110 (the residence time of the product against cooled cylinder 110), width W and diameter D of cylinder 110, the ambient temperature, and the like.
  • Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope and spirit of the present invention. For example, while the system of the present disclosure has been described with regard to a single cylinder device and system, a plurality of cylinder devices and systems may be included in series or parallel arrangement in order to increase a rate of production of cooled product forms, to take best advantage of coolant fluid flow, heat transfer characteristics, or the like. Similarly, the system, device, and method of the present invention may be utilized in a manner and/or process allowing reclamation and subsequent use of transferred or waste heat for ancillary processes. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments as illustrated herein, but is only limited by the following claims.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A system for rapid cooling of molten materials that go through a phase change to become a solid upon cooling, comprising:
    a. a rotatable cylinder;
    b. a tray overlaying said cylinder, said tray further comprising a plurality of mold cavities;
    c. a coolant within said rotatable cylinder for chilling the cylinder surface and the overlying tray; and
    d. means for rotating said cylinder;
    whereby a molten material may be applied to said tray and mold cavities, rotated upon said cylinder while being cooled through operation of heat transfer between the material, said tray and mold cavities, said cylinder, and said coolant, to produce a continuous number of solid forms.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1 wherein said tray comprises a plurality of trays.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1 wherein said tray conforms to an outer surface of said cylinder.
  4. 4. The system of claim 1 wherein a heat transfer agent is applied between said tray and an outer surface of said cylinder.
  5. 5. The system of claim 1 wherein said coolant is chilled water.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1 wherein said means for rotating said cylinder is an electrically powered motor.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1 wherein said cylinder comprises an outer cylinder and an inner cylinder, and opposing fluid-sealed endcaps overlaying said outer and inner cylinders, said outer and inner cylinders and opposing endcaps defining a space for containing said coolant.
  8. 8. The system of claim 7 wherein said coolant is passed through the space to absorb heat from said cylinder and to transfer heat from the system.
  9. 9. The system of claim 1 wherein each said mold cavity further comprises an indicia.
  10. 10. A system for rapid cooling of molten materials that go through a phase change to become a solid upon cooling, comprising:
    a. a rotatable cylinder;
    b. a plurality of trays overlaying said cylinder, each said tray further comprising a plurality of mold cavities;
    c. a wiper disposed proximate a said tray, but offset a distance therefrom;
    d. a coolant fluid within said rotatable cylinder for chilling the cylinder surface and each overlying tray; and
    e. means for rotating said cylinder;
    whereby a molten material may be applied to a said tray and at least a number of said mold cavities, spread across at least a portion of a said tray and a number of said mold cavities, rotated upon said cylinder while being cooled through operation of heat transfer between the material, a said tray and mold cavity, said cylinder, and said coolant, to produce a continuous number of uniformly shaped, solid forms.
  11. 11. The system of claim 10 wherein each said tray conforms to an outer surface of said cylinder.
  12. 12. The system of claim 10 wherein a heat transfer agent is applied between each said tray and an outer surface of said cylinder.
  13. 13. The system of claim 10 wherein said coolant is chilled water.
  14. 14. The system of claim 10 wherein said cylinder comprises an outer cylinder and an inner cylinder, and opposing fluid-sealed endcaps overlaying said outer and inner cylinders, said outer and inner cylinders and opposing endcaps defining a space for containing said coolant.
  15. 15. The system of claim 14 wherein said coolant is passed through the space to absorb heat from said cylinder and to transfer heat from the system.
  16. 16. The system of claim 1 wherein said means for rotating said cylinder is an electrically powered motor.
  17. 17. The system of claim 10 wherein each said mold cavity further comprises an indicia.
  18. 18. A process for rapidly cooling molten materials that go through a phase change to become a solid upon cooling, comprising the steps of:
    a. flowing a molten material approximately across a rotatable cylinder carrying a plurality of trays overlaying said cylinder, each said tray further comprising a plurality of mold cavities;
    b. passing a coolant fluid through said rotatable cylinder for chilling the cylinder surface and each overlying tray; and
    c. rotating said cylinder;
    d. providing sufficient residence time of material within a said mold cavity to ensure adequate cooling of said material;
    e. removing from a said mold cavity a solid form.
  19. 19. The process of claim 18 wherein said step (a.) further comprises the step of wiping the material approximately uniformly into a plurality of said mold cavities.
  20. 20. The process of claim 18 wherein each said mold cavity carries an indicia, and wherein said indicia is transferred to a solid form prior to removal of the solid form from a said mold cavity.
US12391236 2008-02-22 2009-02-23 System and Method for Continuous Rapid Cooling of Molten Materials to Produce Uniformly-Shaped Solid Forms Abandoned US20090211738A1 (en)

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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US1015576A (en) * 1910-06-20 1912-01-23 Misner Briquette Machine Company Molding-machine.
US1649511A (en) * 1925-05-05 1927-11-15 American Cyanamid Co Cooling wheel
US1863371A (en) * 1930-04-09 1932-06-14 Albert E Greene Apparatus for casting
US2672661A (en) * 1951-07-09 1954-03-23 United States Steel Corp Rotary-table casting apparatus with water-cooled molds
US2752632A (en) * 1952-02-19 1956-07-03 Hedwin Corp Mold for thermoplastic materials
US3405455A (en) * 1966-07-27 1968-10-15 Strong Plastics Inc Fluid driven processing machine
US3555615A (en) * 1968-08-08 1971-01-19 Usm Corp Rotational moulding machines
US3555601A (en) * 1968-07-30 1971-01-19 Harold Price Apparatus for continuously forming conical shaped cleats on a thermoplastic sheet
US4050873A (en) * 1975-03-17 1977-09-27 Brumlik George C Train molding apparatus
US5078204A (en) * 1990-09-13 1992-01-07 Eastern Design & Development Company Method and apparatus for molding confectionary products
US5187947A (en) * 1991-10-16 1993-02-23 Doskocil Companies Incorporated Wheel type freezer and method for rapid, low temperature freezing
US5489228A (en) * 1993-08-27 1996-02-06 Richardson; James Water sports board
US5512234A (en) * 1993-12-28 1996-04-30 Ykk Corporation Method and apparatus for manufacturing surface fastener
US5971738A (en) * 1997-01-21 1999-10-26 Velcro Industries B.V. Continuous molding of fasteners and other features
US5983993A (en) * 1996-08-30 1999-11-16 International Paper Company High production chill roll
US6179605B1 (en) * 1998-11-12 2001-01-30 C & L Plastics, Inc. Rotary injection mold
US6261620B1 (en) * 1999-06-28 2001-07-17 Nestec S.A. Method and apparatus for molding a food product
US6730260B2 (en) * 2001-10-22 2004-05-04 Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. Parts transfer method and apparatus for an injection stretch blow molding system
US20040180186A1 (en) * 2003-03-13 2004-09-16 3M Innovative Properties Company Composite webs and closure systems

Patent Citations (19)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1015576A (en) * 1910-06-20 1912-01-23 Misner Briquette Machine Company Molding-machine.
US1649511A (en) * 1925-05-05 1927-11-15 American Cyanamid Co Cooling wheel
US1863371A (en) * 1930-04-09 1932-06-14 Albert E Greene Apparatus for casting
US2672661A (en) * 1951-07-09 1954-03-23 United States Steel Corp Rotary-table casting apparatus with water-cooled molds
US2752632A (en) * 1952-02-19 1956-07-03 Hedwin Corp Mold for thermoplastic materials
US3405455A (en) * 1966-07-27 1968-10-15 Strong Plastics Inc Fluid driven processing machine
US3555601A (en) * 1968-07-30 1971-01-19 Harold Price Apparatus for continuously forming conical shaped cleats on a thermoplastic sheet
US3555615A (en) * 1968-08-08 1971-01-19 Usm Corp Rotational moulding machines
US4050873A (en) * 1975-03-17 1977-09-27 Brumlik George C Train molding apparatus
US5078204A (en) * 1990-09-13 1992-01-07 Eastern Design & Development Company Method and apparatus for molding confectionary products
US5187947A (en) * 1991-10-16 1993-02-23 Doskocil Companies Incorporated Wheel type freezer and method for rapid, low temperature freezing
US5489228A (en) * 1993-08-27 1996-02-06 Richardson; James Water sports board
US5512234A (en) * 1993-12-28 1996-04-30 Ykk Corporation Method and apparatus for manufacturing surface fastener
US5983993A (en) * 1996-08-30 1999-11-16 International Paper Company High production chill roll
US5971738A (en) * 1997-01-21 1999-10-26 Velcro Industries B.V. Continuous molding of fasteners and other features
US6179605B1 (en) * 1998-11-12 2001-01-30 C & L Plastics, Inc. Rotary injection mold
US6261620B1 (en) * 1999-06-28 2001-07-17 Nestec S.A. Method and apparatus for molding a food product
US6730260B2 (en) * 2001-10-22 2004-05-04 Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. Parts transfer method and apparatus for an injection stretch blow molding system
US20040180186A1 (en) * 2003-03-13 2004-09-16 3M Innovative Properties Company Composite webs and closure systems

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