IRG CosiMo Opens Thermoplastic Composites Research Facilities

02 October 2018

IRG CosiMo Opens Thermoplastic Composites Research Facilities

The new facilities of IRG CosiMo (Industry Research Group: Composites for Sustainable Mobility) were unveiled in Augsburg, Germany, by State Minister Franz Josef Pschierer from the Bavarian Ministry of Economics, Energy and Technology, during an opening ceremony on 28 September 2018.

This new infrastructure was set up less than two months after Faurecia Clean Mobility, Premium Aerotec, Solvay and Engel started IRG CosiMo, a private consortium focusing on the development of thermoplastic materials and process technologies in aerospace and automotive.

The first piece of equipment is a 1000 tonne press with tool handling system, complemented by different equipment for thermoplastic processing. The press will be part of a full production line. This is already complemented by a small scale blank heating and overmoulding system which will be substituted by full scale equipment later on in the project.

“This project is key for the next technological step in designing and producing modern fuselages," says Dr Thomas Ehm, CEO of Premium Aerotec. "We will not only research the application of this material but also investigate how a modern digitalised factory will look like.”

“Thermoplastic composites offer distinct advantages around forming, joining, design, functionality and economics," notes Fabrizio Ponte, Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Communication, for Solvay Composite Materials. "Success factors such as cost reduction, scalability to high volume and production of larger parts still need to reach industrial scale. IRG CosiMo was setup to address these.”

IRG CosiMo combines companies along the thermoplastic composites process chain, from materials and semi-finished products (Solvay) to processing machinery (Engel) to applications in automotive (Faurecia) and aerospace (Premium Aerotec). Agile project organisation by ITA Augsburg will enable a compact project structure designed to lead to timely realisation.

“We are proud to have helped to organise the project and expect major effects of synergies between automotive and aerospace for new products like drones or air taxis in high volume applications,” says Professor Dr Stefan Schlichter, Managing Director of ITA Augsburg.

IRG CosiMo is open to new partner companies and to collaborating with institutes at the research campus Augsburg (Augsburg University (MRM, ISSE), DLR-ZLP, Fraunhofer IGCV) to develop critical complementary aspects such as digitalisation, material research and parts functional design.

In the technology centre Augsburg (TZA) the consortium has found a place where joint research can be conducted and where the machines for the technology platform can be installed.

“In order to cover the demand in lightweight technology of both the automotive industry as well as the aviation industry we need to consider modular concepts for processing, where also sophisticated data handling is managed,” emphasises Dr Norbert Müller, Head of Engel’s centre for lightweight composite technologies.

Premium Aerotec, Faurecia and ITA Augsburg are also part of a large project consortium which is funded under the framework of the Campus Carbon 4.0 programme of the Free State of Bavaria. This project, CC4.0 CosiMo, aims to develop new materials and processes using in-situ polymerisation of polyamide 6 from caprolactam for high volume applications in the automotive sector.

“IRG CosiMo confirms Faurecia’s determination to shape the future of mobility," states Hassine Sioud, General Manager Business Unit Ultra Lightweight Structures and Battery Powercase Systems at Faurecia Clean Mobility - Zero Emission Division. "We believe thermoplastic composites are key to answering the latest regulations on vehicle weight as the environmental impact of automobiles can be significantly reduced through the use of innovative materials, enhancing function integration while helping to meet customers’ needs with optimised solutions and design freedom.”

Photo provided by ITA Augsburg

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