Zanite Plus Polymer Composite2022-08-26T13:01:04-04:00
What isZanite® Plus?
Zanite Plus polymer composite is a blend of pure silicon dioxide ceramic (99.8%) quartz aggregate, specially formulated high strength epoxy resin and proprietary additives. The natural elliptical shape of quartz is ideal for casting intricate structures. Often this material is referred to as polymer concrete, epoxy granite, or a mineral casting.
Zanite Plus replaces traditional materials such as iron, aluminum, and steel used in the manufacture of many structural components. Castings are manufactured to tight finish tolerances that rarely required secondary operations. Our polymer composite is accepted by design engineers throughout the world as an alternative material due to its excellent design flexibility, mechanical properties, and short production time.
Epoxy based polymer concrete castings used as machine bases originated in Europe in the mid 1970’s. The technology migrated to the USA in the early 1980’s with machine tool builders. In 2009, BaseTek, LLC purchased the technology and was assigned the legal marketing rights to the trade name Zanite from Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW) Pre-cast division located in Chardon, OH.
Beginning in 2013 BaseTek began a program to study and enhance the Zanite formulation previously acquired. BaseTek utilized a combination of internal resources along with outside consultants to facilitate a reformulation of the Zanite polymer blend. Well over a year was spent evaluating each component and processing methodology.
In early 2015 we re-branded our material Zanite Plus. Through documented testing we can certify Zanite Plus polymer composite meets or exceeds the original inherited Zanite formulation in every category. BaseTek utilizes our own in-house testing equipment along with outside testing labs to verify the material properties. Specific properties are listed in the table and chart below.
Cast to Finish
Zanite Plus precisely replicates tooling eliminating the need for many secondary machining operations. Cost effective alternative to traditional materials such as iron, aluminum and steel which typically require secondary machining or grinding operations.
Tests prove our polymer composite provides up to 24 times the damping of an equal geometry of steel (see chart below). In addition, Zanite Plus can easily be cast in many complex solid geometries resulting in significant damping over a conventional hollow cast frame or welded assembly. Vibration reduction leads to improved system performance and tool life. Zanite Plus also deadens sound.
It is easy to integrate conduit piping, custom linear rails, cutting fluid trays, hydraulic fluid tanks and threaded inserts. Wall thickness can vary and multiple components can be combined into a single casting. The process easily allows plastic and metals to merge in the same casting.
Most post–casting operations such as machining, heat treating, stress relieving and even painting can be eliminated. Quick deliveries reduce inventory. In-house material blending and controlled batch mixing allows for precise, consistent quality from casting to casting.
Our polymer bases can be cast and shipped within days of receiving an order. Bases are delivered ready to assemble final equipment. Short lead times reduce planning, inventory and help speed your product to market. Wood tooling provides a fast proof of concept for rapid prototyping and new product development.
Zanite Plus offers enhanced chemical and corrosion resistance to most common acids, alkalis, solvents, oils, and cutting fluids. Using Zanite Plus eliminates the need for painting or expensive protective coatings.
Castings are created using a cold casting process requiring a minimal amount of energy consumption. Old castings are landfill friendly and require no special disposal requirements.
Zanite Plus castings are designed in conjunction with the life of the machine, if not longer. Improved thermal stability, high compressive strength, and minimal moisture absorption make Zanite Plus an excellent solution.
MRI scanners contain powerful magnets and their supporting structure must be non-magnetic. Traditional scanner structures are stainless steel, but Zanite Plus castings, also non-magnetic, offer a more cost-effective solution.
Zanite Plus machines are able to withstand harsh production environments and give instant, accurate results. Zanite Plus thermal stability, design flexibility, and virtually zero moisture absorption rates help metrology equipment manufacturers achieve their goals.
The prepress industry benefits from the high tolerances to which Zanite Plus can be cast. Precision drums are cast to 0.001″ in true cylindrical form. Zanite Plus ensures a high degree of vibration isolation, rigidity and long term dimensional stability unmatched by metal drums, internal or external. Imaging devices with Zanite Plus drums require no special climate control.
Typical applications include: screen printing machines, wire and die bonding, wafer inspection and testing, lithography, laser PCB drilling machines, pick and place machines, surface profilers, wafer handling and storage, dicing machines, flip-chip, and dispensing equipment.
Typical applications include: non-metallic corrosion resistant baseplates for chemical and general duty process pumps and related rotating equipment such as motors and compressors. Rigid and flat (0.002” per foot) mounting surfaces speed and maintain alignment. Vibration dampening extends equipment reliability and service life.
Properties of Zanite® Plus
MODULUS OF ELASTICITY
4.5 x 10-6 psi
-20 Degrees F to
200 Degrees F
-29 Degrees C to
93 Degrees C
7.9E x 10-6 in/(in °F)
14.2 x 10-6 m/(m °C)
FLAME SPREAD INDEX
Class A (Class I) – 25 or under flame spread per ASTM E84
Zanite Plus polymer composite is a formulation of a high strength epoxy, mixed with a blended quartz aggregate filler. In addition, the system includes chemical additives to improve the strength and durability of the composite.
The standard Zanite Plus mixture has aggregate up to 0.50″ (12.7 mm) in size. The minimum section thickness should be at least two times the aggregate size or 1″ (25.4 mm).
One of the major advantages of using Zanite Plus castings is the ability to cast sections of varying thickness without causing internal stresses. Metallic castings require consistent cross section thickness to reduce internal stresses and distortions.
In most cases the height of the part is held within +/- 0.25″ (6.35 mm ). Parts are usually poured upside down, with the top of the mold open. This cast surface (the bottom of the part) is therefore very rough and not closely controlled.
Where the overall part height is of concern, or all surfaces must be finished, a secondary operation (post casting or machining) can be performed. This will add to the cost of the part.
Zanite Plus is specifically formulated to be as stable as possible. Modified epoxy resins along with engineered particle size distribution maximizes stone on stone contact with minimal air voids. Where steel and cast iron parts typically warp to relieve stress, a properly designed Zanite Plus casting can be engineered to provide very minimal movement or creep.
In most instances, the insert is strong enough to allow a grade 8 bolt to be tightened to the proper torque. For extreme bolt loading, the inserts can be anchored deeper into the casting.
The standard inserts have a hexagon external configuration, with a recessed center section to allow anchoring in the composite. Inserts should be kept at least one diameter from the part edge.
Zanite Plus as cast cannot be tapped. If a tapped hole is required after casting, a hole is drilled and a insert is grouted into position using a template. If tapped holes need to be added during the assembly operation, steel pieces should be cast in the relative location.
Low heat transfer allows the base to resist heat transfer. In the case of machine tool bases, this means distortions due to heat build-up in one section, transferring to distort another section, will not occur. Transient heat loads due to outside doors being opened or sun light coming through a window, will have little effect on the base. Metallic structures tend to distort quickly due to minor heat loads.
Where heat transfer is required, vent holes or internal coolant lines can be cast in place.
The mold life depends on the mold design, construction and handing. A good quality steel mold should last hundreds of parts, with only minor maintenance. Fiberglass molds will also produce hundreds of parts.
The epoxy will discolor easily but the physical properties are not greatly impacted. Our testing indicates with 5 years equivalent UV exposure after discoloring occurs, Zanite Plus will retain at least 95% of tensile and compression strength.
To utilize the Zanite Plus formulation, the part needs to be at least as large as a bread box, about 80 lbs. (36.3 kg). The largest machine tool base we have cast weighed 70,000 lbs. (31.7 MT). The maximum size part is limited only by the ability to ship the part.
The average size part weighs between 800 and 2,000 lbs (363 kg and 907 kg). Smaller parts can be cast, but these are not the ideal type part for us to produce.
Most machine tools are subject to compressive loading. Where parts have tensile loading the section thickness should be increased to accommodate the loading. If the section thickness must be kept small, internal reinforcements should be used. These internal reinforcements can be structural rebar, threaded rod, angle iron, fiberglass rebar or any other rigid structure.
Zanite Plus composite has a density of .082 lb./cu. in. (2.27 g/m? ), approximately the same as aluminum. Because the wall thickness will be greater than an aluminum casting, the part weight will be higher.
Part weight can be reduced by casting foam cores internally. This creates a closed box design that provides a stiffer design than open end cores used in metallic castings.
Weight reduction can also be achieved by using hollow structural forms such as steel box tubing. This not only reduces the weight of the part, but it also adds stiffness.
Zanite Plus castings can be ground using conventional aluminum oxide wheels and coolant to reduce the dust. The surface can also be machined using carbide cutting tools. Secondary machining is not desirable and should be avoided.
Zanite Plus is made from a thermal setting polymer, so it will not melt. Like any other common material, the strength decreases as the temperature increases. The strength is only slightly reduced up to 160˚ F (71˚ C). Parts can be used up to 200˚ F (93˚ C), where the strength will be approximately 50% of the room temperature strength.
Mold cost includes mold design and mold production. Mold design is often supplied free, but can run between $2,500 and $4,500. The mold design belongs to the Zanite Plus Division; the mold belongs to the customer. The mold design affects the part quality, production time and mold life. Polymer casting molds should only be designed by those experienced in the intricacies of the polymer casting technology.
A high quality steel mold typically costs between $6,000 and $90,000.
Draft is not necessary, but it can reduce production time. Cast parts can be produced with no draft, negative draft or recesses. High volume parts should be produced in a mold with draft. The tool construction cost is higher for molds with draft.
Draft should be 2∞per side. Molds that have no draft require complete disassembly to extract the part and therefore have a higher production cost.
Things to avoid are thin sections, back taper where tooling must be drawn against the part to be extracted, high tensile loading, shock loading, tapped holes too close to the edge and horizontal surfaces formed by the tooling, thus causing air to be trapped.
Part flatness, hole location, hole diameter and feature measurement are all measures of precision. The precision of the cast part is determined by mold design, mold construction and process variables.
Using a properly designed, high quality steel mold, parts can be cast with a flatness of 0.0025 in/ft (0.006 cm/m), and hole diameters of 0.001 in/ft (0.003 cm/m). When closer tolerances are required, or a low cost mold is to be used, tolerances can be achieved using secondary machining, lapping, grinding or grouting processes.
Casting to tolerance is highly desirable as it eliminates expensive secondary operations. By eliminating secondary operations, the delivery time is expedited, reducing work-in-process inventory and allowing quicker response to customer delivery requirements. Deliveries can be days, instead of months as is typical for metallic components.
Parts can be painted with any commercial paint, including new water base paints. Priming is not necessary as these parts can not rust. It is necessary to properly clean the surface to remove mold release from the part surface or the paint will not stick.
Most Zanite Plus parts are not painted. Unlike metallic structures which rust or corrode, Zanite Plus castings can not rust or corrode and are impervious to most common solvents.
Zanite Plus castings are typically cast black, white or tan. It is possible to cast other colors, but this requires significant production volume and exact color matching is not possible. The part surface finish will exactly duplicate the mold surface, from high gloss, to matte to textured.
The cost per pound is not comparable to metallic castings as Zanite Plus parts are cast to finished tolerances, so the cost is for a finished part. Metallic castings are quoted on a cost per pound, but they require secondary machining so the delivered cost per pound is much higher.
Finished Zanite Plus parts sell for $0.75/lb. to $100.00/lb ($1.65/ kg to $220.50/ kg).
Molds can be produced from steel plates, aluminum plates, wood, sheet metal or fiberglass. Wood is used for prototype parts for quick delivery. Life expectancy is only one part, although with careful handling several parts can be produced. Tolerances cannot be held, so secondary machining or grouting is necessary to obtain precision.
Fiberglass molds are used for high volume, low precision parts.
Sheet steel molds are used for lower cost, high volume parts. Medium precision parts can be cast in a sheet steel mold, with the proper design.
Aluminum castings are used where the part has an intricate configuration and multiple molds are required.
High precision parts can only be cast using a heavy duty steel mold.
The Zanite Plus casting process uses much less energy than metallic castings. To produce a metallic casting, iron ore must be mined, smelted, melted for casting, and machined to tolerance. Zanite Plus resins use very little energy to produce and the casting process is done at room temperature.