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An advanced Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) system developed by the ATR Group and Huntsman Advanced Materials has been used on an award winning prototype engine air box for the Ferrari F430.
The ATR Group is an Italian consortium comprising nine leading companies involved in the research and production of advanced structural composite parts and components. Using ATR’s RTM technology and a new epoxy resin system – XB 3583/Aradur 3486/ LMB 6432 from Huntsman Advanced Materials – it was possible to build the highly complex prototype of the engine air box. The process won the highly prestigious 2006 China Composites Expo-JEC Innovation Award for the best application for FRP/Composites Production in September 2006.
With the Ferrari F430 engine air box, the weight of the finished prototype part was virtually halved from the aluminium original – down from 4.1kg to just 2.4kg. According to Huntsman, this was achieved by using a special, flexible silicone membrane rather than the usual metal RTM mould, which enabled the resin content to be reduced and the reinforced fibre content to be increased. Additional external pressure was also applied to the membrane to optimise this process.
Although complex, the prototype part produced using this advanced RTM system was extremely accurate – even the engine flange drill holes matched up with no further finishing required. No additional bonding was needed either to add connecting parts such as inserts and internal auxillairy structures as they were formed in the mould during the RTM process
Abramo Levato, R&D Manager at ATR Group said: “With our significant advancement in RTM technology combined with the Huntsman Advanced Materials resin system, it is possible to produce highly complex, yet lightweight composite parts in a single shot. This versatile laminating system makes Advanced RTM an even more time and cost effective manufacturing option for our customers.”
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