FRIMO Announces Partnership with Weber to Provide Automotive In-Mold Graining Solutions

Becomes first supplier in North America to offer completely integrated IMG equipment and tooling solutions to automakers

Oct 02, 2013, 10:37 ET from FRIMO

WIXOM, Mich., Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FRIMO, one of the leading developers and providers of system solutions for the manufacture of high quality plastic components, has announced its partnership with Weber Manufacturing Technologies Inc., a fully integrated mold manufacturer, to provide complete In-Mold Graining (IMG) solutions to automakers in North America.

The partnership allows FRIMO to become the first supplier in the North American market to offer a complete, integrated IMG system for manufacturing automotive interiors, including equipment, tooling and process solutions, to its customers. It currently has three projects underway with its Tier 1 customers for 2014-2015 Chrysler and Ford vehicle models.

"Due to increasing demands for quality and appearance, accompanied by cost pressure, more automakers and Tier 1 suppliers are choosing the IMG process to produce grained surfaces for auto interiors," said Jeff Daily, president, FRIMO, Inc. "By combining FRIMO's IMG process know-how and Weber's mastering expertise and high quality nickel vapor deposition (NVD) shell manufacturing, we're able to offer our customers a one-stop shop for IMG solutions, something that was previously unavailable in the market."

"With our experienced team providing in-house master model machining and leather wrapping for any interior soft touch textured part, it's easy to see why our partnership with FRIMO is a natural fit and allows us to supply high quality IMG tooling faster than traditional electroforming methods," said Robert Sheppard, vice president, Weber Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. "Using our NVD technology, we produce stronger, more uniform nickel shells at a rate 20 times faster than electroforming.  NVD replicates authentic textures molecule-by-molecule into a nickel shell at a competitive price, perfect for the IMG process."

The IMG process benefits automakers in several ways, as it offers all the advantages of thermoforming, while meeting all the requirements for an optimal surface with no grain stretch, something which traditional thermoforming processes are unable to do. IMG is an economic alternative to slush skin, spray skin or RIM skin approaches and allows for grain adjustment between different components, different grain-zones on the same component as well as embossing of logos.

As weight reduction is becoming increasingly important with regard to fuel consumption, IMG is also an outstanding solution for lighter weight constructions. This process provides a significant weight advantage over slush skin or spray skin processes.

Although the IMG process was first introduced 10 years ago, FRIMO has made continuous improvements that now enable the process to be used for increasingly demanding interior surfaces and complex geometries.

"Our IMG solutions not only improve the appearance of vehicle interiors, they also help our customers achieve shorter lead times, lower costs and minimize risk by removing multiple supplier interfaces," said Daily. "Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs were seeking an integrated IMG solution built in North America and we're delivering it."

The FRIMO Group includes global production and sales locations with more than 1,200 employees in Europe, Asia and America, and numerous representatives around the world. FRIMO is one of the worldwide leading developers and providers of system solutions for the manufacture of high quality fiber-reinforced plastics and supplies tooling and machinery, as well as the respective automation and finishing, e.g. with flexible trimming, joining and assembling. FRIMO's portfolio for the plastics processing industries also covers an extremely wide range of technologies: PU processing along with flexible trimming, punching, pressing and forming, as well as thermoforming, laminating, edgefolding, joining and gluing. FRIMO offers its customers tailor-made tools, machinery and systems as separate or turnkey solutions from a single source. FRIMO North America is headquartered in Wixom, Mich.

About Weber
Weber Manufacturing Technologies Inc., located in Midland, Ontario, Canada, is a fully integrated mold manufacturer in Automotive Interiors & Exteriors, Aerospace, and Home & Building products. Founded in 1962, Weber builds tooling for In Mold graining (IMG) Slush, Spray, Compression, Injection, RTM, Infusion and Autoclave processes. Our in house model shop develops Master Models made for leather wrap, etched steel, or select wood grains, and can also provide low cost models in silicone, epoxy and urethane tooling board.

Weber also operates the world´s largest Nickel Vapor Deposition facility. This facility is capable of producing nickel shapes in 99.98% pure nickel; to high precision, for molds or complex nickel components, including fine surface detail, grains, and textures. Tools made using NVD nickel shells offer many flexible design options and critical advantages not available with any other tool-making technology.