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Dieffenbacher Presenting New Direct Processes and Materials for the Car of the Future

  • Thursday, 23rd March 2006
  • Reading time: about 4 minutes

Dieffenbacher will be exhibiting their services under the ‘Fit for ultra-light components’ banner at JEC 2006.

Highlights are the new, energy saving ‘Compress’ generation of presses that incorporate the rapid developments made to Dieffenbacher’s LFT-D direct processing system, as well as automated SMC processing that incorporates highly significant, trend setting technologies for manufacturing light-weight components for structural and semi-structural applications.

Diefenbacher say that the highlight is the new generation of Compress and Compress Plus presses for re-shaping fibre-reinforced plastics. The new Compress series has been further standardised with specific attention paid to the hydraulics as well as the new Proguide visualisation system that uses an ergonomic information display based on professional industrial design principles. The main focus during the development phase was on ensuring that the processing parameters can be modified rapidly via a touchscreen or keyboard. Easy to use, intuitive and target-orientated navigational methods guide the operator to the required information or function, for example, by pressing the selector switches and specifically assigned function keys. Special priority was also given to enhancing the user friendly operation in order to ensure efficient error analysis and data handling in addition to developing these innovations.

The Compress Plus completes the new generation of presses. This series provides the users with further cost advantages thanks to the low energy consumption and the even shorter cycle times (< 20s). A new closing design had to be developed in order to reduce the energy consumption by 50% or more. The cylinder is mechanically locked in position after rapid closing so that the press pressure can be built up from a working stroke of approx. 200 mm as opposed to more conventional strokes of between 1,000 and 1,500 mm (and often higher). The increased rapid closing speed of up to 1,200 mm/s makes for even shorter closing times when using huge press strokes and this means that the process is optimised for the associated material as well as reducing overall cycle times (< 4s).

The exhibition also sees the launch of Dieffenbacher’s long-fibre thermoplastic direct processing system (LFT-D / ILC), which has been further developed to provide additional automotive application options. Another highlight is the production of visible components, which is also based on Dieffenbacher’s LFT-D/ILC technology. Not only are the final films for Class A surface components back pressed but visual components with structured surfaces are also displayed without any additional coatings. Also new is the concept for producing light weight versions of underfloor enclosures with high impact strength. The excellent economic efficiency of the LFT-D/ILC technology is underpinned by the very short cycle times of 20-25 seconds and dual toolpiece operation as well as the minimised material costs.

Dieffenbacher’s SMC processing technology and its enhanced quality significantly increase the SMC applications that can be used in the automobile industry It is in this context that Dieffenbacher has successfully supplied a variety of high-speed / high precision presses for bodywork components that need Class A surfaces. The integrated process controller in the process control system has been specially optimised to meet the new requirements. The new system design for fully automatic SMC part production also had to be developed for the new concepts, in order to meet the increasing requirements with regard to the very tight tolerance limits and reproducible part production calculations.

Completely new paths have been integrated in the automated SMC processing system. Specially designed SMC path controllers have been developed to prevent the sheet moulding compound from running as well as SMC winding consoles to reduce the styrene loss and both of these help to minimise edge trimming of the SMC coils. However, it also realises processing security by considerably reducing the amount of reworking carried out on Class A surfaces, which also results in drastic cost savings.

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