When TROX UK started to plan the local production of TROX Group’s newest air handling unit, the X2, Air Press Developments was able to solve a significant cost problem for the project via an innovative approach.

At TROX’s Anholt facility, composite panels are assembled using a tower press. If a similar approach were to be adopted in the UK, initial capital equipment investment was expected to exceed £250,000. Clearly cost prohibitive in the early stages of this new product’s manufacture, the TROX UK design team began investigating lower-cost alternatives.

Research led by chief design engineer, Martyn Mills, prompted a visit to the AirPress facility in Salisbury to talk to AirPress MD Peter Hoggard regarding the feasibility of using vacuum to press the high-tolerance composite panels. 

After undergoing trials, the solution chosen utilises the BenchPress Membrane Press – it was found that an applied vacuum pressure of 15mbar was all that was required to successfully press the panels. 

Describing the project, Martyn highlights that: “The challenge for TROX UK was to find a cost-effective alternative which applied even pressure to the panel, irrespective of its size or profile. 

“The solution provided by AirPress was ideal, and as a result we have already invested in three BenchPresses and plan to buy a fourth in the new year – all for considerably less than the cost of a tower press. The vacuum-pressing method has already been used on the panels included in the first X2 to leave our factory (headed for schools in the Midlands) and our associates in other TROX manufacturing subsidiaries are also interested in the approach we have adopted.” 

Peter Hoggard, MD of Air Press Developments, says he was delighted to work with Trox to find a cost-effective solution to meet their requirements. 

For further information relating to Air Press Developments’ Vacuum Pressing Systems, contact Peter Hoggard. 01725 514426