K 2013: Polyurethane matrix resin delivers superior composite surface finish, high temperature resistance

Through the development of its new polyurethane (PUR) matrix resin, Loctite MAX 3, Henkel (Dusseldorf, Germany) says it has taken a further important step toward fully automated series production of composite components for the automotive industry. In collaboration with KraussMaffei, the company has developed a process for the manufacture of components based on glass or carbon fiber and using high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) technology that creates a surface quality good enough for automobile exteriors. Using a model of the light, high-strength carbon fiber roof segment of the Roding Roadster R1, the production process was presented at K 2013.

While composite materials based on carbon or glass fibers combine lightness in weight with high strength, thus offering outstanding properties in relation to safety and crash behavior, until now there have been certain limitations in the use of lightweight components. They are restricted in the degree to which they can meet the requirements of the automotive industry with respect to cycle times and level of automation. In particular, composites have been very rarely used for the external components of production vehicles, as the requisite post-treatment of the surface for subsequent painting has been too time-consuming and had to be performed manually....

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