In 1956 two brothers in France, Bruno and Louis Durisotti, decided to strike out from the family business and start their own company specializing in the repair of the busses. In 1968, seeing the decline in the textile manufacturing in their area, Durisotti made the decision to change the direction of the operations and began designing and transforming the light commercial vehicles of several large auto manufacturers.

Their first project, in cooperation with French Auto manufacturer Pugeot, was lengthening the footing and overhang of the Pugeot J7 Van. The project was an immediate success and led to many more with most of the major automotive manufacturers in France and Northern Europe, as well as the National Police Force, Gendarmerie and French Army.

The Problem

Durisotti has always been passionate about incorporating new technologies and techniques. This held true for the patented process they developed in 2006 to replace the standard flooring of a utility vehicle to one that allows for seats to be added or removed as needed.

When they first looked at this process, the challenge was how to efficiently mount the rails to the floor of the vehicle that would allow seats to be used. After some time in research and development, they determined that using composites to replace the entire flooring, rather than mounting the rails to the existing flooring would be the best solution. And, due to the highly technical difficulty of the part, the best process for manufacturing this composites part was infusion.

Durisotti tooled a mold and began using the classic method of infusion with the clear vacuum film and tacky tape. Unfortunately, the intricacy of the mold presented them with several production difficulties, and this method of production never got off the ground.

The Solutions: Flex Molding Process

At about the same time, key members of the Durisotti production team were invited to a demonstration of a new technology for closed molding production developed by Magnum Venus Products (MVP) called flex molding process. The demonstration featured innovative technology and techniques integral to flex molding process.

The key advantage of the flex molding process compared to the classic method of infusion is the reusable silicone membrane made with MVP’s 1:1 Patriot Silicone System. This system allows manufacturers to make a flexible counter mold of their existing mold tool and ensures a secure seal around even large molds that infusion film with tacky tape just cannot achieve. After attending the demonstration, Durisotti realized that this could be the answer to the technical challenges he was experiencing in his production.

It took a little over two months to determine exactly what was needed to incorporate flex molding process into their regular production. Once all of the pieces were in place, it took just two days to make the reusable membrane and actually infuse several test parts to ensure accuracy and consistency.

The Impact

Prior to making the change, Durisotti was able to produce an average of one part per day using the classic infusion method. With the flex molding process, its production doubled to two parts per day, and that was just the beginning. As they grow more familiar with the techniques and technology, they expect that number will increase.

“The quality of the part has improved for two reasons. The quality of the vacuum is easier to control with the silicone membrane and infusing with the injection valve allows for better part polymerization with no under-catalyzation.” – Jean Michel. Kosowski, Duriscotti R&D manager

Ultimately, several factors played into the decision of Durisotti making the move to flex molding process. “Time savings against classic infusion, no risks of air leaks, production part regularity, the guarantee of the same quality for every part, and the capacity to increase the daily part production per mold,” says Kosowski.

Durisotti is continuing to pursue how they can incorporate flex molding process into the production of other products in their line.