It’s possible to monitor houses, cars, cats, and boats by smartphone, so why not check vacuum bags during resin infusion? Now composite technicians have this option with VacPuc, a new product recently launched in New Zealand by a company of the same name, founded by Chris Hickey, a composite materials and process engineer. In essence, it is a smartphone-controlled device that monitors the pressure without having to pierce the vacuum bag. “VacPuc works while retaining the vacuum bag’s integrity—saving time and money, while reducing waste” is how Hickey pitches the product’s benefits.
A VacPuc runs without a battery, instead receiving energy through the vacuum bag via inductive power transfer, which powers its pressure sensor and wirelessly transmits a signal back to a smartphone. It is compatible with smartphones that offer NFC (near-field communication)—Android 11 or Apple iPhone 8 or newer—and measures absolute pressure with a guaranteed accuracy of ±2 mbar (0.2% of full scale) in mbar, bar, mmHg, whereby full vacuum is 0 mbar/psi and atmospheric pressure is 1013 mbar/14.70 psi.
A VacPuc, Hickey emphasizes, is suitable for resin infusion but must be placed in a custom disposable pouch to seal it off from resin, a step that usually is not required for prepregs with low-flow resin systems, or during debulks.
The company also says the device is rated up to 6 bar/85 psi and 121°C/250°F in an autoclave, but that application requires an industrial reader, an accessory that was not yet available at press time. While VacPuc is not waterproof and its signals can be transmitted only through nonconductive materials, it will work when placed on metal or carbon fiber molds. The device retails for $250 and can be ordered online from www.vacpuc.com.
VacPuc Ltd, Unit 201, 11 Paora St., Orakei, Auckland 1071, New Zealand, tel. +64 21 236 7398, firstname.lastname@example.org.