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How Bathtubs are made with Acrylic Material

How Bathtubs are made with Acrylic Material

Acrylic material is a frequent sought after coating for making up a bathub. Cast iron is a popular choice among clawfoot tubs, yet the acrylic is a suitable alternative for vintage and also modern styles.

Why choose acrylic?

One of the biggest differences between cast iron and acrylic is weight. Acrylic bathtubs are much lighter than iron or steel tubs. Additionally, it has a high-gloss coating that resembles cast iron and enamel styles. While some acrylic tubs can scratch, any damage can be easily repaired.

What is acrylic made from?

This material is a plastic polymer formed when carbon molecules are chemically bonded. Acrylic sheets have an appearance similar to glass, yet are strong and impact resistant. Additionally, the material has a higher quality once treated with performance-boosting finishes.

Manufacturing process

Compiled by Science Channel’s “How It’s Made,” here is an overview of the entire process:

Forming the shape – Sheets of acrylic that contain ceramic elements are heated to 200 degrees Celsius. At such high temperatures, the polymer becomes so malleable and soft that it can form a variety of shapes. It is lowered over a shell that has small holes with powerful suction vacuums. This makes it possible for the sheet to reach into every indentation of the mold.

Cooling – The tub must cool before it heads to the next step. High-power ventilator fans are positioned above the mold for four to six minutes. In this time, the acrylic will cool to 77 degrees Celsius.

Strengthening – Once firm, the newly created bathtub is easily lifted from the mold since it only weighs 16 kilos or about 35 pounds. At this point, the tub isn’t structurally sound enough to hold water. It will need to be reinforced with a fiberglass coating to get its strength. Mixed with resin, the fiberglass is added to a robotic arm that sprays it on to the base of the bathtub.

Lamination – The next step requires a group of workers equipped with brushes and rollers to smooth the rough spots from the tub. This process takes 75 minutes, but it allows the fiberglass to adhere to the tub.

Milling – Now that the bathtub is dry, it’s taken to the milling department where it will be trimmed. An overlay of acrylic is created when the tub is formed that needs to be cut from the unit. Additionally, holes for the drain, body jets, overflow and ambiance lighting are created at this point. Pumps and piping are added to the models sold with everything installed.

Water test – Quality assurance tests are the last step of the process. The tub is filled with water and all the features like body jets are turned on to ensure they are in working order.

After these steps are completed the bathtub is then ready to become part of your vintage or contemporary style bathroom.

To view a variety of cast iron and acrylic bathtubs from Kingston Brass, click HERE.

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