What industries use the Flexform technology?

Flexform is since decades well established within the aerospace industry, both for airframe, engine and space sheet metal part production. The aerospace industry request for high quality parts in relatively small volumes of each, at a high variety, make the technology a perfect fit.

The technology is also a great fit for all industries where prototyping and low volume production is required, such as automotive, busses, trucks, yellow goods, food processing equipment, white goods, building façades etc.

Other questions and answers

Material Densification

Powder subjected to extreme pressure in a mould is compacted into a solid, with a density of up to 95% depending on the material.

From the two vessel technologies, mono-block and wire-wound, the wire-wound technology systems can be scaled up to a cylinder volume of 2000 L.

Metals, soft magnetics and ceramic powders are typical materials. In some cases CIPed material may be further processed using Hot Isostatic Pressing.

The upfront investment seems high, but is rather low compared to other machinery used in today’s battery manufacturing. Calculations with a realistic cost-model we established, put isostatic pressing in the lower cent area per KWh. The calculation model fits different parameters, the ones that show a high impact are pouch dimensions and vessel size, which can be adapted to customers preferences.

Warm Isostatic Pressing (WIP) entails subjecting components or powder in moulds to extreme isostatic pressure, up to 600 MPa (87,022psi) and at ambient temperature. Common pressure media include water, emulsion or oil and in some cases components my be bagged.

Sheet Metal Forming

A failure is typically detected because the cycle time and the pressurization time is extended, causing a small leakage only. At worst, at a major failure, the tray may be filled by oil, but this is extremely unusual. The press will automatically decompress and evacuate the oil in the system to the tank. The operator can then close a manual valve at the main oil tank. A worn-out diaphragm is typically changed within four hours, having all replacement parts at hand.

The life depends on the used tool shapes, but typically in the order of tens of thousands of cycles. For some of the Quintus press models the diaphragm is also repairable, should the diaphragm accidentally be pierced or damaged by an operator error. A diaphragm exchange can be made in a few hours, having all replacement parts at hand.

Quintus is primarily a hardware provider, but do have a very strong application support team, providing training in the Flexform process, including tool design, forming and forming simulation on request.

Due to our unmatched high-pressure experience, we trust we can provide the best product available in the market. Our unique wire-winding technology allow high-pressure processing, with numerous of sheet metal fabrication quality advantages, as well as economic advantages. The wire-winding technology also provide an unmatched equipment life and reliability.

Flexform is a low-cost sheet metal hydroform technology, ideally suited for low volume production. Flexform use only one single rigid tool half and a flexible rubber diaphragm, backed up by high-pressure hydraulic oil. Typical Flexform production volumes range from a few parts per year and per tool, up to a few thousand parts.

Food Processing

As a science based technology, HPP is not only fully recognized by global regulatory bodies as an antimicrobial process with superior capabilities for inactivating many food pathogens of concern, but also for slowing down the growth of spoilage bacteria, thereby extending refrigerated shelf life between 2-10 times longer than unprocessed foods.  Both these benefits alone can have a significant
impact on the global challenges of food safety and food waste.

Most conventional food processing methods such as heat and/or chemicals have negative effects on health and nutrition. Consumers are demanding high nutritional values in foods, particularly those present in fresh, raw, or minimally processed varieties. HPP does not affect nutritional components in foods largely because it has no effects on covalent bonds so HPP products maintain their vitamins and bioactive compounds.

Manufacturers using HPP eliminate chemical preservatives used to control microbial growth and reduce the frequency of food safety testing, thus satisfying the demand from customers for preservative-free foods, while reducing operational costs, hence delivering higher company values. HPP has thus become the process of choice among non-thermal food processing technologies. The
assurance of inactivating foodborne pathogens, post packaging, provides food and beverage manufacturers the business-critical food safety confidence for protecting their consumers, as well as ensuring that their brands and company reputations remain untarnished.

HPP is commercially used in wide range of foods and beverages such as ready-to-eat deli meats, fruit and dairy based drinks, baby foods, dairy products, pet food, ready meals, ready-to-cook marinated meats and meals, seafood, and wide variety of plant-based products including guacamole, hummus, salsa, ready-to-eat salads, tofu and plant-based protein meat analogues.

Most food and beverages are applicable for HPP technology. However, certain intrinsic and extrinsic factors are important in determining HPP conditions and satisfying regulatory rules and guidelines.

We support the customers throughout the complete HPP development process. From recipes to packaging to designing and providing in-house validation services. Our comprehensive evaluation and support is geared for getting your product in the market quickly.

Our Quintus ® Care Program reflects our culture of true partnership, as witnessed by near three quarters of a century pioneering pressure technologies. Your immediate and long term benefits of Quintus ® Care includes controlling ongoing operational costs, guaranteed access to parts, regular technical reviews and remedial training, application support, as well as opportunities to participate in ongoing educational seminars

During HPP the pressure reaches up to 6,000 bar (87,000 psi). At this pressure, products will compress approximately 15% of their volume, meaning that HPP packaging must be waterproof, hermetically sealed, and include materials which are flexible to withstand compressions of at least 15%. For these reasons, different plastic materials have traditionally been a popular choice for HPP since many of these are flexible enough to allow containers to compress without breaking and elastic enough to retake their original shapes after the process. Additionally, several sustainable alternatives can be used with HPP such as rPET, PP, PLA and other biodegradable solutions.

Commonly used packaging and materials for HPP include bottles, cups, pouches, trays, in combination with various types of films or closures. Sealing surfaces for films need to be relatively wide, uniform and preferably flat. Sealability (heat seal strength) is an important element for packaging that is subjected to HPP. Cross-hatched patterns are not suitable as they can allow oxygen
diffusion into the packages that will contribute to oxidative deterioration of products.

Service & Support

This your choice. Some customers believes that they have a stronger negotiation position if they finalize SLA discussion prior to investment. Some appreciate to get guaranteed uptime also during the warranty period. Others wants to avoid establishing a spare stock and avoid to expend internal organization by signing a SLA early. The warranty in general covers issues during warranty. Preventative maintenance is still needed to start directly and go on also during the warranty period.

We are stocking some parts which, by experience, is used frequently. However, since we are providing customized capital equipment it is not feasible to stock all parts. Also, some parts are becoming obsolete and therefore takes extra time to find a replacement part. Being proactive in planning with parts to preventative maintenance, the lead time is in general less of an issue.

We have established 2 separate support lines, one in US and one in EU. Both can be used, depending on the time.

We support customer in priority order. Our Quintus care full customers are priority, secondly our Quintus care base customers and after that the broader market. Each Quintus care customer has a Key Account Manager to feed the dialog through Quintus services to you as customers.

Do you want to know more about Quintus care?

Our equipment is reliable. We are the global leader, have 60 years’ experience and our customers in general have very low cost for operating our presses. However, every machine will fail and no one can say which part and when it will fail. Because if so it would be in the maintenance manual. The applied strategy for uptime is:

  • Service the machine preventatively according to best practice time/cycle-based schedule
  • Prepare for the unforeseen failure, with Quintus Technical Support service included in Quintus Care, so that it does not cause major disruptions in the production.

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