NetComposites
3M

KraussMaffei Present CFRP Components in Increasingly Shorter Cycle Times

01 March 2016

During JEC World, KraussMaffei will present its solutions for manufacturing fibre-reinforced plastic components based on both thermoset and thermoplastic matrix systems.

Thanks to the wide-ranging expertise in the areas of reaction and injection moulding technology, KraussMaffei says it provides technologies and systems from a single source as the leading provider on the market.

According to KraussMaffei, development focuses primarily on creating processes and systems that can be used to manufacture lightweight components in large series production, for which there is great demand in vehicle construction. "We will demonstrate our expertise at JEC in many up-to-date application examples. In doing so, we will prove that we offer our customers the right process for optimised production for all corresponding component requirements," emphasises Erich Fries, Manager of the Composites/Surfaces Business Unit at KraussMaffei.

KraussMaffei explains that one of these ground-breaking technologies for manufacturing high-performance components based on carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) is called wet moulding, also known as wet pressing. In comparison to classic RTM processes (resin transfer moulding) like HP-RTM (high-pressure RTM) and C-RTM (compression RTM), wet moulding is characterised by a simpler process chain in which the preform process is omitted completely. For this reason, wet moulding is a cost-effective alternative for manufacturing new lightweight components in vehicle manufacturing.

During the wet moulding process, it explains a mixing head applies the resin (usually epoxy resin) onto the flat-lying semi-finished fibre product in continuous strips. The fibre product is then passed on to the mould, where it is compression moulded. This process has two decisive advantages. It saves valuable cycle time, because the resin can be applied to one component at the same time that the other is curing in the mould. The system can also be more reactive. Charging is no longer necessary in the heated mould, in which a reaction cannot yet occur. These two factors save time, leading to shorter cycle times. It is also possible to use recycled fibres. This makes wet moulding an excellent option for industrial processing of recycled fibres in the RTM process.

KraussMaffei wet moulding lines are also characterised by a high degree of automation, ensuring short cycle times and high numbers of pieces.

At JEC World, KraussMaffei will present current application examples from the mass production of the new 7 series BMW and the i8 electric car.

KraussMaffei is presenting exciting applications in the thermoplastic lightweight construction area with FibreForm technology. The process developed by KraussMaffei combines the thermoforming of semi-finished products, called organic sheets, and injection moulding in one process. The strength level of fibre-reinforced plastic components is increased through this procedure. It claims that the fully automated process enables short cycle times of less than 60 seconds and, therefore, production processes that are ready for large series. Using airbag housing from Takata as an example, KraussMaffei says it has further developed the process in multiple steps, resulting in a weight reduction of around half, compared to the first reference component, as well as a reduction of cycle times and manufacturing costs. This was possible for many reasons, including switching from polyamide to polypropylene as a material for the organic sheet matrix and injection moulding as well as switching from short glass fibre to long glass fibre reinforcement.

KraussMaffei can be found in Hall 6, Stand A38.