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Each year, the AVK – Federation for Reinforced Plastics – presents the coveted Innovation Award for particularly outstanding developments in conjunction with reinforced plastics. All in all, five winners in four categories were nominated in 2009.
In the industrial category, Volkswagen AG and the TU Dresden shared first prize with the BMW Group. The environmental award was presented to DSM; while the Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung [Institute of Plastics Processing] at the RWTH Aachen (IKV) won the race in the academic category. Cpm composite products mücke received the AVK’s Special Award for their “SplashCar“.
Industrial Category I:
VW AG and the Institut für Leichtbau und Kunststofftechnik-TU Dresden [Institute for Lightweight Construction and Plastics Engineering – TU Dresden: Thermoplastic hybrid structures, exemplified by a plastics seat shell with local continuous fibre reinforcement
Volkswagen AG and the Institut für Leichtbau und Kunststofftechnik – Technische Universität Dresden won first prize in the industrial category.
This partnership received the award for the development of “thermoplastic hybrid structures“; i.e., structural elements made of plastics, with local reinforcements in the highly stressed sections made of textile inserts. This composite construction principle makes it possible to replace highly stressed metal elements by more lightweight plastics components.
The newly developed VW seat shell was manufactured by an innovative procedure combining economical compression moulding of continuous fibre – reinforced thermoplastics with new types of continuous fibre – reinforced inserts. This shell meets the mechanical requirements in accordance with the specification book and allows a considerable weight reduction of 45% as compared to traditional steel seat shells.
Industrial Category II:
BMW Group: Plastics transmission crossmember
The BMW Group developed a plastic transmission crossmember. This is a structural component for aggregate storage, manufactured by injection moulding.
Apart from functioning as gearbox bearing, the plastics transmission crossmember also contributes to the total vehicle rigidity, it absorbs forces during a crash and ensures force transmission in this context.
BMW has investigated whether these transmission crossmembers may be made of glass fibre – reinforced plastics in order to reduce the weight. Apart from pertinent tests performed on component test benches, BMW also successfully performed component testing on complete vehicles, such as full vehicle crash, dynamic corrosion testing, as well as long-term performance testing. Certain geometrical changes improved the acoustics.
The new plastics transmission crossmember is already being used in series for the new GT5 and is targeted for use in other vehicles as well.
DSM Dyneema B.V. and DSM Composite Resins AG (in collaboration with DoKaSch GmbH): the world’s most sustainable air container
DSM, together with DoKaSch GmbH, developed the world’s most sustainable air container, which consists of coloured RP10 composite panels.
In 2008, this container – the so-called AKE (LD3) type – was certified for air traffic by the EASA aviation authority and was fully launched in 2009 by DoKaSch.
The RP10 composite panels are used to replace aluminum panels on a one-to-one basis. Compared to aluminum, they save up to 50 % panel weight, thus cutting down significantly on aircraft fuel and CO2 emissions.
This composite panel, at only half the weight, exhibits a damage tolerance that is three times as high as that of aluminum, thus eliminating more than half of all container repair jobs and considerably increasing the efficiency in air traffic.
Kai Fischer, Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung [Institute of Plastics Processing] at the RWTH Aachen (IKV): Investigations regarding automatic and large-series production of continuous fibre – reinforced plastics parts by gap impregnation
Kai Fischer developed the gap impregnation technique, which is a variant of the resin injection process to accelerate component manufacturing.
In conjunction with automated manufacturing, a gap impregnation unit was developed in cooperation with Hille Engineering (Aachen) and installed at the IKV’s technical school. This gap impregnation unit, in combination with a newly developed mould, gives rise to a fully automatic process. In conjunction with component manufacturing, a preform is inserted into a mould, then impregnated with a liquid resin, and finally cured. The innovative feature here is rapid impregnation by creating a temporary flow gap, followed by subsequent compression of the impregnated preforms by pressing and squeezing.
Developing an automatic gap impregnation unit in combination with an analysis of the manufacturing process made it possible for the IKV to impregnate and compress components (500×500 mm2) with a fibre content of 50 % by volume in as little as 19 seconds.
Special Award Category:
Cpm composite products mücke: Splash Car
The cross-country SplashCar features lightweight construction in combination with an efficient electric drive.
The primary component of this vehicle is the lightweight pan made of a fibre/plastic composite with a core of rigid foam, integrating a highly efficient electric drive with 4 kW driving power. The ultra-modern lithium-polymer battery technology assures driving times of up to one hour at full throttle (at a top speed up to 40 km/h and maximum power). Reducing the workload and interrupting the ride tends to prolong the driving time.
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