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SMC Line Starts Up for VW EOS Components

  • Friday, 24th February 2006
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Successful start-up of three production lines has recently taken place at INAPAL Plasticos in VW’s industrial park in Portugal, with two fully automatic lines are destined for the manufacture of SMC boot lids.

The third line is used to produce underbody shields for EOS and SEAT

The production of body components with Class-A surface requires top-level technological and process know-how. Joint forces as represented by INAPAL Plasticos and Menzolit-Fibron were the decisive factor for placement of the order for the EOS trunk lid and underbody shield on INAPAL Plasticos.

Menzolit-Fibron is the manufacturer of the semifinished product and not only provides for premium SMC but also gives technical support for tooling and SMC processing technique which was an additional requirement of VW.

Another precondition was erection of the new plant adjacent to the Autoeuropa car plant in the VW industrial park to ensure JIS delivery (Just in Sequence).

The SMC material is not easy to process because it requires some time of maturing for the semifinished product and the date of processing will be about 2 – 3 weeks after manufacture. During that time the material is subject to uncontrollable influences that could be reason of problems during the process or painting.

For this reason, new developments were introduced into the technical concept of these lines to produce parts with repeatable quality and in this way reduce the cost of retouching and rejects significantly.

For the first time, Menzolit-Fibron, Gochsheim plant, delivered the semifinished product on large coils with the effect that about one production shift can be operated without stopping the line. To minimize material loss, CNC path systems were integrated into the SMC trimming systems which not only results in a minimum part weight fluctuation < 1% but also a quick return of higher investment required.

For the first time, the cut SMC packages are automatically adjusted to the part geometry, in this case by trapezoidal trimming. This ensures optimum plasticity to fulfil the quality requirements for Class-A surfaces. Three trapezoidal SMC trimmings must be laid one upon another for each component. CNC scales are installed to achieve a total weight tolerance < 1% . After each trimming the weight is compensated through the feed of the SMC trimming system.

The core of both systems is a Dieffenbacher high-speed press Compress DC-U 2100/1800 AS with active parallel motion control. Integrated process controls ensure optimized SMC processing. The integrated vacuum units and IMC technique also are a prerequisite for Class-A surfaces.

Openings in the outer skin of the trunk lid are cut in a high-precision CNC milling machine. A water-jet cutter dresses the internal part. The newly developed cutting path monitoring system ensures compliance with close tolerances defined for the roundness of holes and distances.

The new pressing plant delivers the complete trunk module JIS (Just in Sequence) to the assembly line in the Autoeuropa plant of VW, where it is pasted and painted in an ultramodern system. The tail lamps, lighting of the license plate, VW badge and all antennas as well as the interior trim are assembled as a complete module in this line.

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