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Award Goes to Intelligent Lightweight Construction Technology

10 May 2016

Bond-Laminates, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and HBW-Gubesch Thermoforming together received an award in the ‘Processes’ category at the JEC 2016 Innovation Awards in Atlanta, US.

The winning development involves the addition of local tape reinforcements to Tepex-brand thermoplastic composite sheets in order to optimise mechanical performance, material thickness and weight.

According to Bond-Laminates, continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites (CFRT), also referred to as composite sheets, have good potential for use in lightweight construction and are very easy to process. They can be manufactured continuously, have an unlimited shelf life and thus offer tangible economic advantages. Conventional fabrics with a 0°/90° fibre alignment are ideal for most reinforced structures, such as components in motor vehicles, and also housings on electronic devices and athletic equipment. The balanced fabric supports a variety of applications that can significantly reduce weight compared to metal or other plastics.

However, for special load situations, and to further optimise the flow of forces, reinforcements can be integrated using multiaxial Tepex, a recent advancement at Bond-Laminates. With this method, different fibre alignments can be selected for the layers of the composite structure. Referred to density, significantly enhanced performance can be achieved. The method makes designing components subject to heavy loads, such as brake pedals and seat structures, very easy and efficient.

For special applications requiring even further local reinforcement of load paths, high-performance structures can be optimised using this E-Profit approach, in which the precise number of unidirectional high-performance reinforcements, called ‘tapes’, are used that correspond to a given load path. This enables the load to be optimised in a similar manner to using different sheet thicknesses or reinforcements, but at a considerably reduced weight. Dirk Bonefeld, Head of Research and Development at Bond-Laminates in Brilon said, “The method we developed rounds out the high-end range of our Tepex-brand performance thermoplastic composites. The partners on this research project engineered an innovative method for cleverly combining different types of semi-finished composites. It demonstrates the development potential of our fibre composite technology.”

The evaluation criteria in this international competition are outstanding technical solutions, collaboration between development partners, market potential and the originality of the product or process. In attendance at the award ceremony on 4 May 2016 in Atlanta was Megan Jennings, account manager in the United States for the Tepex product in the LANXESS High Performance Materials Business Unit, who said, “We are proud to receive an award in this major competition in the composites industry. It's a very gratifying form of recognition of our know-how in the field of composite materials.”

 






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