Located in Homer, IL, Toshware, Inc. is a privately owned company that manufactures custom saddlebags for Harley Davidson. Toshware, a Hapco customer since 2001, approached them with the idea of molding a durable polyurethane liner onto a flexible material to produce a saddlebag that was stiffer, weatherproof, lockable, and able to retain a particular shape. This was a unique concept and one that Harley Davidson was very excited about pursuing for its next-generation motorcycles. Hapco welcomed Toshware’s CEO, Rob Boyer, and his crew to their Hanover facility to learn some advanced aspects of the unique manufacturing process known as Liquid Molding™. Hapco’s team of experts worked hands-on with Toshware for several days to develop a proprietary method for bonding the urethane onto the fabric.
Initially, a prototype tool was created to validate the process. This involved using a master pattern machined from aluminum to produce a urethane mold made from Hapflex 598. Hapflex Series materials are ideal for mold-making because they are extremely tough, wear-resistant, easy to use, and have very low shrinkage. The material chosen for the liner itself was Hapco’s S-RIM™ 6260.
S-RIM™ products exhibit production-grade properties and an unusually high “green strength.” This means parts can be de-molded in less than 10 minutes, reaching 75-80% of their physical attributes within that time frame. S-RIM™ is ideal for expediting manufacturing cycles and accommodating higher volume production.
The unique nature of this application and the fast gel time of S-RIM™ required the use of meter-mix dispensing equipment. Toshware chose Hapco’s premier dispensing system, RAPIDFIL™, to handle the production requirements. RAPIDFIL™ has many standard features, such as an LCD computer, electric heat and agitation, stainless steel tanks, and a state-of-the-art hose management system. Rob was excited about utilizing a new feature that allows them to load pre-programmed “recipes” that incorporate the output speed, tank temperature, shot size, and purge time. When production moves from one application to the next, they can have RAPIDFIL™ ready to shoot parts with the push of a button.
Toshware was up and running with its new equipment and molding technology within a few short weeks of participating in the Collaboratory™. Increased production orders from Harley Davidson resulted in Toshware purchasing additional meter-mix equipment and materials from Hapco, and they have remained a top-level customer for many years. The company has since leveraged this specialty Liquid Molding™ process and is applying it to many other markets.