the new vacuum Melt Preparation for thermoplastics

minimized degradation & highest reproducibility

How it works



How it works





The Very Basics


MeltPrep offers a gentle process to transform powdery thermoplastic materials in homogeneous specimens, without altering the source material's characteristics due to degradation. The transformation is obtained with a rapid Vacuum Compression Molding (VCM) cycle and consists of three steps:

  • 1. Vacuum: A hermetically sealed tool is connected to a vacuum source and interparticle air and moisture are removed.

  • 2. Melting: the evacuated tool is heated, forming a homogeneous bubblefree melt.

  • 3. Cooling: the tool is cooled and the specimen solidifies.

  • VCM processes have been successfully applied for many years. However, the MeltPrep VCM tool is a true innovation. A smart and compact design enables convenient specimen preparation with lowest material and time requirements.

    The MeltPrep VCM Tool


    The tool is a multi-piece construction which comprises a vacuum tight sample chamber, release foils and a piston. The vacuum tight sample chamber is formed by the main body, ground plate and lid.

    The release foils fully enclose the sample to prevent sticking issues after the preparation cycle. The sample chamber is adaptable in height, thus, its dimensions perfectly fit to the loaded amount of material and no cavities occur.

    The piston is actuated due to atmospheric pressure when vacuum is applied. This smart concept enables a compact design without the need of a hydraulic or mechanical actuated press.



    Key Innovations:


  • Compaction due to atmospheric pressure

  • Release foils at the metal interfaces

  • Adaptable specimen height







  • Geometries

    The VCM tool offers a variety of different geometries. The cross section is defined by the VCM tool and the height of your sample is easily adjusted by filling weight.



    Cylinders

    Dimensions from 10-25 mm in diameter and 0.2-5 mm in height



    Tensile Bars

    Coming Soon



    Rectangular

    Coming Soon



    Customer Request

    2D cross sections specified by customers

    Applications

    Overview


    High quality samples can increase the reliability of your measurement results. VCM samples are not prone to thermal or mechanical degradation. Moreover, almost no additional mixing occurs. The only convective term occurs during fusing and is very small compared to extrusion or injection molding. Thus, isotropic structures or multiphase systems are preserved at the best. Selected Applications are

  • Rotational Rheometry

  • Dynamic Thermal Mechanical Analysis (DMTA)

  • Injection Molding Formulation Screening

  • Multilayered Structures

  • Rotational Rheometry


    Rotational rheometry is applied to investigate the viscoelastic behavior of a substance. A sample is placed in a measurement geometry and deformed under controlled conditions. The required force is measured and of that the material characteristics are derived. This method averages the properties for the entire sample which is loaded on to the rheometer. Thus, in homogeneities can cause severe fluctuations within the measurements.

    The animation shows typical artefacts as the can occur with poor sample preparation in comparison with sample prepared by the MeltPrep method. The polymer Soluplus® from BASF SE is prone to thermal degradation and is hygroscopic. However, the MeltPrep approach enables reliable measurements.

    Check out the peer-reviewed publication





    Formulation Screening


    Injection molding is an emerging technology in the field of pharmaceutical technology. In many cases, the incorporation of several additives like plasticizers, pigments, taste masking agents or anti-tacking agents makes the interactions between formulation and product properties more complex. Thus, often a wide range of experimental runs are required to tailor the product properties to a certain target profile.

    Each experimental run requires material which is lost during the fine tuning of process parameters before the actual samples can be taken or the material losses within the processing equipment e.g. the filled sections of an extruder screw. These losses can be minimized by simplifying the way of preparation.

    By the reduction of processing steps and minimized volumes the losses can be significantly reduced by VCM. In addition, VCM samples can be produced with constant geometries which further eliminates fluctuations of analysis results due to varying geometries

    Portfolio

    VCM Essentials

    VCM Tool
    Hot plate
    Vacuum Pump
    Cooler
    Accessories

    VCM Tool

    Various Geometries Temperatures up to 240°C
    Temperature Sensor
    Release Foils
    Accessories

    Release Foils

    PTFE Coated Fabrics
    Several Thicknesses
    Lateral Surface
    Abutting Face
    Packages

    Data Recording

    Tablet
    Data Acquisition
    Software
    Data Base
    Temperature Sensors

    Request for Quotation


    Got your Attention? Do not hesitate to contact us via email. In order to ensure a professional and prompt processing of your enquiry detailed information concerning your intended application would be appreciated.

    About


    Team Member

    Daniel Treffer

    CEO & Founder



    Daniel studied Chemical Engineering at Graz University of Technology. During his PhD Thesis he recognized the demand for a less harmful sample preparation approach for thermoplastics. Pharmaceutical formulations, in particular, may show rapid thermal degradation and lead to measurements containing errors.

    Daniel simplified consisting preparation approaches such as hot pressing and injection molding and reduced the design to it's essentials. Vacuum compression molding (VCM) was born in beginning of 2014. The VCM tool has grown in two years to a thought out and simple solution to prepare best-quality samples starting from powders.




    The Spin-off Story


    MeltPrep is a cooperate spin-off of the Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH (RCPE). The spin out took place in January 2016. The RCPE is located in Graz, Austria and was founded in 2008. It has more than one hundred employees and is split into three areas:

  • Area I: modeling and prediction
  • Area II: advanced products and delivery
  • Area III: process and manufacturing sciences







  • Interdisciplinary projects are the RCPE’s everyday business. This fruitful environment led to four spin-offs until 2015. For more information visit www.rcpe.at.


    Science Park Member


    MeltPrep is supported by the academic business incubator, Science Park Graz GmbH. The Science Park is a non-profit organization supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) AplusB Programm and the Styrian Business Promotion Agency (SFG).