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Quickstep has been awarded the JEC Innovation Award in the “Process” category in the JEC 2012 Asia Innovation Awards.
According to Quickstep, the award was in recognition of their patented Resin Spray Transfer (RST) process, which is aimed at providing a fully-automated serial production process for the automotive industry, capable of cheaply and efficiently mass producing composite parts with a Class A automotive finish.
Managing Director of Quickstep, Mr Philippe Odouard, said the award was a major international endorsement for the Company’s RST technology. “JEC is one of the world’s largest and most highly regarded composites industry associations and we are delighted they have chosen to recognise our RST process as part of their 2012 Innovation Awards program,” he said.
Quickstep explains that their RST technology is being developed to cheaply and efficiently mass produce composite parts with a Class A finish – with the aim of making the use of carbon fibre accessible to the entire automotive industry.
The RST process is undertaken by spraying hot thermoset resin directly onto a chilled mould that instantly solidifies the resin. A long strand dry fibre preform is then placed onto the tool covering the solidified resin. Quickstep says that by using their patented fluid-based curing process, the resin and preform are then heated, which melts the frozen resin and wets out the preform. This process enables Quickstep to deliver the all-important “Class A” automotive finish, while dramatically reducing manufacturing time and costs and increasing manufacturing rates.
Quickstep says that painted carbon fibre flat panels manufactured using RST have exhibited an exceptionally high quality for a rapid layup and curing process, with non-destructive ultrasonic scans confirming specifications well within automotive industry standards. In addition, they also achieved outstanding surface finish straight out of the mould, meeting the demands for exterior Class A automotive body panels without the need for additional expensive and labour-intensive bogging and sanding.
In addition, RST should also enable the manufacture of automotive parts in minutes rather than hours at costs that are comparable metal vehicles in low to medium production volumes. Quickstep claims this outcome is achieved because they are able to manufacture using long strand dry carbon fibre (as opposed to prepreg material, which requires expensive storage and handling) as well as its ability to use inexpensive rapid-curing resins with high exotherm, as the Quickstep Process is able to dissipate the exotherm extremely efficiently.
Based on its early success in the development of RST, in November 2011 Quickstep says they were appointed to lead a joint development project supported by the German Government and a leading German car manufacturer to develop new manufacturing solutions for composite parts for the automotive industry.
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