Casting/ Artificial stone
Unsaturated polyester resins are a class of materials highly suitable for casting various forms of products. Used as filled resin or as pure resin casting, parts can be cast into their final shape using a mold. Different types of casting processes exist, each with their individual benefits.
In Cultured Marble a gelcoat is sprayed onto the mold, and backed with filled resin casting (typically 18-25 % resin, talc filler). By using a transparent gelcoat and colored casting, high surface gloss and special color effects can be obtained. Predominantly, this technique is used for making sanitary components used in furniture. The parts can be made in large production series, typically with better dimensional accuracy than equivalent parts made in ceramic materials. Also, the composite components can be much lighter than ceramics. When properly manufactured, Cultured Marble castings can resist well thermal shocks and have good durability for many years of service.
A similar technology is used for making shower trays and baths, by casting a resin mixture behind thermoformed PMMA or PMMA/ ABS sheet (15-20 % resin, quartz filler). This technology is appropriate for manufacturing larger and flatter parts compared to the Cultured Marble technique.
Solid Surface parts are made without the use of gelcoats. A resin mixture filled with ATH, pigments and dyes (30-40 % resin content) is cast into a mold, resulting in a part with a unique aesthetics like a matt finish and great color depth. If surface scratches are formed in daily use of the parts, these can be easily repaired by sanding off the surface. Main applications are in sanitary components (bathroom sinks, baths), sink assemblies for public washrooms, and working surfaces in kitchens and furniture. Special applications include signage, product displays and shop interiors, designed in custom colors.
Polymer Concrete is a casting process used for making components traditionally made in concrete. Providing a higher design flexibility than conventional concrete, a lower weight, significantly faster cure and the capability to color parts, this technique is broadly used for manufacturing components in Building & Infrastructure (door thresholds, window sills, decorative strips, façade panels, street water drainage systems, manholes, sewer pipes). The resin is typically mixed with sand and quartz filler in multiple filler sizes to have a uniform mixture (resin content up to 15 %).
As specific type of casting process is the production of Artificial Stone (or Engineered Stone). In this process quartz fillers, pigments, and additives are mixed and compressed into slabs or blocks (Breton® process). After cure under high pressure and heat, sheets are cut with subsequent surface polishing. These sheets are used for kitchen work surfaces, bathrooms, flooring tiles, building façades, in many cases as an alternative to natural stone. Artificial stone products bring excellent durability, scratch resistance, and unique aesthetics (custom-made colors, special visual effects).
Cultured Marble, Solid Surface and Polymer Concrete require relatively low capital investment for resin mixing equipment and tooling, and can be easily scaled up. On the contrary, the Artificial Stone process is capital intensive and does require a significant plant base-load before becoming economic.
Aliancys has high quality resins available for all these casting applications sold under Synolite™ and Palatal® brands . Please contact your Aliancys Technical Service Representative for helping you in selecting the resin system most appropriate for your process and application.