The production process of FILAVA™ has 5 main steps:
- Preparation of the raw material
- Melting and refining of the lava
- Drawing of the filament
- Sizing of the filament
ISOMATEX controls every step of the production process with cutting-edge equipment. These have been carefully selected for their proven performance and reliability in many industrial environments. Many of them have been specifically developed by ISOMATEX. The production is fully automated, which guarantees total quality control and full traceability.
ISOMATEX: the sole global leader in producing fibres with such mechanical properties
Producing fibres that consistently deliver outstanding mechanical properties of enriched volcanic rock has been one of ISOMATEX’s challenges, and it has become the sole global leader in this field.
- ISOMATEX developed an original recipe for the preparation of the raw material, which combines volcanic rock with other minerals. Moreover ISOMATEX is careful to avoid any contamination of the constituents: the ingredients, which compose the raw material, are delivered in sealed containers after a strict delivery control system subject to SLA (Service Level Agreement). They are then carefully mixed in a computer-assisted blender and transported by a pneumatic conveyor to the melting furnace.
- ISOMATEX’s industrial process is unique in its use of an induction electric furnace for the melting and refining of the lava. This process enables an efficient and homogeneous transfer of the calories to every zone of the mass in fusion, which cannot be achieved easily with a gas or fuel furnace due to the opacity of the raw material.
The melting of the raw material is a complex process at high temperatures and includes numerous chemical reactions. The electric induction assisted by additional oxygen in the refining zone favours also the oxidation of certain mineral constituents and their necessary transformation in the drawing zone.
- Drawing of the fibres is done through platinum rhodium extrusion plates. The lava in fusion flows through microscopic orifices. Yarns obtained, having the consistency of honey, are then vertically stretched by a pneumatic winding-machine whose rotation speed determines the diameter of each elementary filament.
- During the drawing process, the filaments are coated by a very thin layer of sizing that is tailor-made and prepared by ISOMATEX and whose thickness is calculated in nanometres and / or in angstroms (Å). Sizing is a chemical solution whose properties determine on one hand the fibre capacity to impregnate the resin and the end matrices and, on the other hand, its resistance to mechanical constraints during weaving or during the integration into a composite material. There is a sizing for each application.
ISOMATEX’s various sizing formulas are the result of many years of research and development and offer unique solutions. Depending on the properties desired and according to the type of downstream treatments with the aim to strengthen the yarn and reduce its friction, a diverse range of sizing formulas are used to enhance the interface’s anchoring with organic matrices. The appropriate sizing enables subsequent improvements and better processing of the material. ISOMATEX’s sizing formulas are its exclusive property.
- The filaments are later transformed by ISOMATEX in conventional roving yarns, twisted yarns or in chopped strands. Moreover, ISOMATEX offers a large list of fabrics, UD tapes, etc. Each type of transformation requires high precision and specialized equipment.
ISOMATEX’s technological choices guarantee:
- Constant quality of its products at the forefront of the industry;
- High energy efficiency and a level of thermo-efficiency of electric furnaces two to three times higher than the ones heated by oxy-fuels or gas;
- Absolute conformity with pollution control norms and, consequently, final products complying with the strictest environmental criteria;
- Automation and vertical integration of all steps of the production enabling its total control and 100% traceability;
- Optimization of costs, which guarantees its long-term partnership with its clients and best quality to price ratio.