05 December 2017
05 December 2017
SHAPE Machining reports that it has successfully demonstrated its capabilities in the field of advanced composites for automotive applications through a recent collaboration with TenCate Advanced Composites.
SHAPE is developing processes designed to lower the cost of prototyping and speed up the demonstration of scalable composites manufacturing processes. This has been in response to the growing demands of the low- to mid-volume automotive market, which requires quick manufacture of parts using out of autoclave processes. Together with TenCate Advanced Composites, SHAPE has manufactured a technology demonstrator component specifically to be press moulded using TenCate E732 snap-cure prepregs. The aluminium press mould tooling was designed to enable hot pressing of first-off parts, curing in only 4 minutes. From conception to delivery, the project took nine weeks to complete.
Carbon fibre reinforced plastic is used in a variety of applications by SHAPE customers due to its inherent high strength, high stiffness and low mass properties.
“This snap cure prepreg allows us to cure parts in only 4 minutes using the heated press equipment installed at SHAPE," reports SHAPE’s Composites and Engineering Manager, Glen Pascoe. "We’re very pleased with the surface finish, level of consolidation and speed of development shown on this project. The unique automotive panel geometry has many features such as steep sides, a perimeter flange, recesses and ribs. Final CNC trimming in a bespoke vacuum jig adds further through holes and trims the flange to the correct size."
Photo provided by SHAPE Machining
Zoltek's PX35 carbon fibre is employed in the new Uniti electric car which made its debut in Sweden on 7 December. The vehicle features a full carbon fibre body.
A method for joining metal to thermoplastic composites developed by Powdertech Surface Science has been employed in the Ariel Hipercar project to bond glass fibre polypropylene to aluminium for the vehicle’s monocoque chassis.
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, is coordinating the European project RECOTRANS, which aims to develop efficient and sustainable manufacturing methods that will enable the large-series manufacturing of composite materials for applications in vehicles, trains and trucks.