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Surface Generation, a provider of advanced carbon fibre processing technologies, has started work on an 18-month research and development project to produce affordable lightweight carbon fibre components for the automotive industry.
Backed by Innovate UK, Surface Generation explains it is working with project partners to create enhanced automotive components, exploiting its patented PtFS production process to overmould long-fibre reinforced carbon composites with short-fibre thermoplastics. Surface Generation will develop manufacturing solutions for the production of coupons, sub-element components and demonstrator articles, designed to improve the performance of automotive.
Part of the Thermoplastic Overmoulding for Structural Composite Automotive Applications (TOSCAA) project, the consortium is led by SGL Carbon Fibers and includes Jaguar Land Rover, Engenuity, LMAT, Nifco, The University of Nottingham and AMRC at the University of Sheffield and has attracted more than £2 million in UK Government funding for initiatives focused on making cars lighter and more fuel efficient.
The advanced manufacturing techniques developed by Surface Generation rely on its unique PtFS process, which uses active thermal management technologies incorporated in mould faces to adjust heating and cooling levels for each mould area and process stage in real-time.
Surface Generation claims that PtFS is already being used by global automotive, aerospace and consumer electronics manufacturers to improve the quality and throughput of compression and injection moulding applications and will be further developed over the course of the project.
Ben Halford, Chief Executive at Surface Generation, comments, “The benefits of lightweight carbon fibre materials have been proven in Formula 1 and high-end supercars but are often uneconomic outside niche user cases. Surface Generation’s PtFS technology will extend the capability of thermoplastic overmoulding, thereby delivering the functional benefits of carbon composites to a new class of cost sensitive automotive components.”
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