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Surface Generation Provides ETH Zurich with Advanced Composite Processing Test Rig

15 January 2013

Surface Generation has provided the Centre of Structure Technology (IMES-ST) at ETH Zurich with a highly sophisticated test environment for liquid composite injection moulding.

Surface Generation explains that its custom-built test rig is the first to precisely mirror production line processes while enabling researchers to visually observe resin flow in real-time. IMES-ST and its multi-national research sponsors can watch the injection stage of textiles at much higher temperatures and pressures than previously possible.

It says that localised thermal management and intelligent moulding technologies allow resin flow to be directed as required and ensures accurate experimental conditions by eliminating temperature errors and reducing rig deflection. It enables more accurate flow models to be developed and validated, enhancing the predictability of future composite processing solutions.

Ben Halford, Chief Executive at Surface Generation, comments “The test rig we’ve built for ETH Zurich is a significant advancement for the carbon composite research community. The University will be able to quickly and precisely validate complex resin flow scenarios, accelerating development and improving the efficiency of production processes. It’s a vital step towards enabling true mass production of carbon composite parts.”

Dr Florian Klunker, Composite Materials and Adaptive Structures at ETH Zurich, comments “Liquid composite moulding injection processes with intelligent temperature management allow carbon fibre structures to be created more quickly and at lower cost than conventional techniques. They are of significant interest to high volume automotive manufacturers, which want to use carbon composite parts in their next generation of mass-production vehicles. Accurate testing is vital to ensure parts are created right first time and without defect.”

Surface Generation’s test rig uses its patented Production to Functional Specifications (PtFS) process, encompassing a range of active thermal management technologies, to control and vary temperatures to the precise requirements of each mould area and process stage. It claims the process removes the need for large capital equipment, improves work flow and enables production of larger and more complex designs.





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