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Fiberforge has successfully installed its first RELAY (Rapid, Efficient Layup) Station in Europe, the RELAY Station 2000 at Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Pfinztal, Germany.
Fraunhofer ICT will use Fiberforge’s RELAY Station 2000, which they say is the largest in the world, at its state of the art thermoplastics research centre to conduct R&D projects for various industries including automotive and aerospace.
The RELAY Station 2000 offers clients the ability to develop and demonstrate the production of thermoplastic advanced composite structures upward of 2 m x 2 m on a full scale production work cell.
According to Fiberforge, the RELAY Station creates tailored multiply preforms from unidirectional thermoplastic prepreg tape that can then be formed into a final part. Unidirectional tape combines a reinforcing fibre, such as glass and carbon fibre, with thermoplastic resin types, such as Polypropylene, Polyamide or PEEK. Tailored Blanks can be made with varying thickness and fibre orientation to maximize structural performance. They say the automated RELAY Station reduces the labour intensity of advanced composite part manufacturing, thus expanding the commercial reach of these materials into higher volume markets and products. Tailored blanks also can be incorporated into injection and compression moulded parts as inserts for improved strength and cost efficiency.
“Fiberforge’s innovative tape layup process opens up new possibilities for producing thermoplastic advanced composite parts in a fast and automated process,” says. Dr. Ing. Frank Henning, Deputy Director of Fraunhofer ICT. “Combined with our expertise in other thermoplastic processing technologies, Fiberforge’s RELAY Station will expand our portfolio in the research and development of methods, materials and process technologies for fibre-reinforced plastics.”
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