Discover the Advantages of WCBL’s Pre-Impregnated Lamination Technology

When it comes to creating orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) devices, WCBL leverages modern techniques like vacuum-molded thermoplastics and thermoset laminations. For applications requiring a more rigid device, thermoset lamination materials are the preferred choice. These laminates are crafted from a variety of fabric matrices and resins, tailored to meet specific functional goals and structural strength requirements. At WCBL, we excel in implementing two proven thermoset lamination methods:

1. Carbon Fiber Wet Lamination: This technique involves layering the appropriate reinforcing fabric matrix over a model of the patient’s limb. A PVA bag is then used in conjunction with a vacuum source to apply resin, saturating the fabric matrix. Once the chemical reaction is complete, the laminate is considered cured.

2. Pre-Impregnated Lamination: Prepreg carbon fiber consists of a fabric matrix pre-impregnated with a precise amount of resin and partially cured. This method allows for controlled resin/fiber ratios and precise customization. By applying prepreg layers onto the patient’s limb model, the desired thickness and strength can be achieved. The composite is then cured through thermal cooking under pressure, often in an autoclave.

Benefits of Pre-Impregnated Laminates

Prepreg laminates offer numerous advantages compared to wet carbon fiber techniques. They result in lighter weight devices with varying levels of flexibility and rigidity, depending on fiber orientation. Prepreg allows for enhanced control over biomechanical features based on the layup of the material. Moreover, it provides better management of resin content and distribution, ensuring consistent quality and performance. While the fabrication process for prepreg is intricate and labor-intensive, WCBL is committed to advancing research in this area within the O&P field.

Innovative Applications at WCBL

WCBL is currently exploring the use of pre-impregnated laminates to develop a flexible trimline for O&P devices. Addressing edge pressure concerns, this initiative leverages prepreg’s ability to control fiber orientation and resin distribution, resulting in customizable flexibility levels. With prepreg composites, high-performance materials can be tailored to meet diverse functional goals for patients, further highlighting WCBL’s dedication to innovation in the O&P industry.