Rhode Island Patent of the Month – October 2023
Response Technologies, LLC, an award-winning scientific company, has developed a method that’s changing the game for fabricating seamless fuel tanks.
The process begins with 3D-printing an inflatable mold with specific inner and outer surfaces to facilitate the tank’s formation. The use of a mold is not a novel idea, but Response Technologies’ approach is a fresh and innovative take on it which limits any damage to the mold.
What sets this method apart is its incorporation of additive manufacturing. The inflatable mold, equipped with a nozzle and connected to a pressure source, serves as the foundation for this groundbreaking process. As the mold inflates, the magic happens. Layer by layer, the seamless, flexible fuel tank takes shape. Additive manufacturing allows for the precise deposition of materials in pre-selected amounts and locations, giving the final product a 3D structure tailored to specific needs.
Once the tank has been built up layer by layer, the inflatable mold deflates, and the final form is ready to emerge. A crucial advantage is that the mold can be withdrawn through a port in the tank, eliminating the need for destruction during the removal process, unlike conventional methods that often result in wasted materials and potential damage to the tank.
The benefits of this innovative manufacturing process are plenty. Not only does it enable the use of stronger and more high-performance materials, but it also allows for the rapid and cost-effective production of unique tank and bladder designs. Moreover, the flexibility of these storage containers, which can be up to 40% lighter than traditional options, makes them readily scalable for a wide range of applications.
The implications of this advancement extend to various industries, including the transportation, storage, and protection of goods like fuels and chemicals. By reshaping the way tanks and bladders are fabricated, Response Technologies, LLC is driving progress toward lighter, more versatile, and cost-effective solutions that have the potential to transform the market and contribute to enhanced safety and efficiency across various sectors.
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