20/04/2011

www.gupta-verlag.de/polyurethanes

Increasing demand for high-pressure RTM - a mass-production process for fibre-composite parts

HP-RTM produces lightweight, high-strength carbon-fibre plastic composites (CFP) with outstanding surfaces in a highly automated and cost-competitive process. High-pressure processing of highly reactive resins delivers very short cycle times. This combined with other product properties make it very attractive to the automotive industry. "The JEC Composite Show in Paris was further confirmation; we had more concrete project enquiries than ever before”, commented Erich Fries, Product Manager HP-RTM at KraussMaffei. Reliable supplier partnerships are the essential basis for efficient implementation of HP-RTM projects. This is why KraussMaffei is cooperating with Dieffenbacher GmbH to supply complete production solutions which cover the whole manufacturing process, from unwinding the carbon fibre to post-mould processes. The outcome is finished ready-to-assemble parts. Dieffenbacher supplies the machinery for the automated production of dry carbon-fibre preforms - the shaping press, with the loading and unloading robots, mould cleaning and line control. KraussMaffei supplies the mould, the material metering system and mixing head, together with the post-mould processing cells. "The close cooperation between KraussMaffei and Dieffenbacher, working with a network of expert partners (users, suppliers of fibre, resin and machining systems and R&D institutes) has proved to be extremely productive for all concerned,” emphasised Matthias Graf, Technical Manager, Business Unit Forming at Dieffenbacher GmbH. "Working in a network sharpens all the partners' understanding of the goals and of the technical and cost considerations of a project. In other words, it creates the ideal environment for launching a mature product after a very compact development process. In a process chain like this, each link in the chain must be absolutely reliable.” An important building block on the way to successfully implementing new technologies is the ability to work in effective networks. KraussMaffei is skilled in this area, for example, as a cluster partner in the Bavarian New Materials Cluster since 2009. Ahead of the JEC 2011, experts presented the latest developments in HP-RTM at a cluster meeting titled "Industrial Process Chain High-Pressure RTM” to over high-caliber 100 participants. Strong interest from companies such as BMW, Audi, Daimler and MAN proved to be a foretaste of the response by visitors to the JEC. It all goes to show that technologies for cutting cycle times in production of fibre composite parts are high on the car industry's agenda. "Information about the process chain from insiders is something even experts need”, says Marcus Rauch, Manager of the New Materials Cluster at Bayern Innovativ GmbH, "It's the basis for ongoing development and cooperation. In this context, the collaboration with our cluster partner KraussMaffei is a complete success”. Prof. Dr. Frank Henning from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology spoke about the latest results of research into RTM and high-pressure processing with short cycle times for highly reactive resins. Prof. Dr. Klaus Drechsler, who holds the Chair for Carbon Composites at the Technical University of Munich, discussed developments in manufacturing preforms with carbon fibres. Industry experts from KraussMaffei Technologies, Dieffenbacher, Huntsmann Advanced Materials, Zoltek and Hufschmied Zerspannungsysteme each presented their take on innovations for the HP-RTM process chain and answered audience questions.

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