The automotive and mechanical engineering sectors profit from the mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP): low weight combined with high strength and stiffness. Consequently, the demand for lightweight components made out of composites is rising continuously.
Load-optimized FRP parts for greater stability coupled with high strength to weight ratio
The use of unidirectional thermoplastic tapes offers the potential to fully automate the manufacturing of fiber composite components. At the Fraunhofer IPT, we have specialized in producing load optimized fiber composite materials in order to achieve greater stability coupled with lower weight: with the tape laying heads developed by us, we apply unidirectional, pre-impregnated semi-finished products in the load direction. This results in waste-optimized organic sheets, which are then formed into FRP prototypes in the next step. In order to qualify FRP components for mass production, we produce prototypes and optimize the processing of semi-finished fiber composite products continuously.
Thermoplastic tape laying in the manufacturing environment
Companies can profit from the economic and ecological benefits of in-situ consolidation in automated tape laying operations: the layers of laminate bond fully with one another without any need for subsequent curing or autoclave processes. In addition, the degree of consolidation of the fibre composite material can be individually adjusted by means of a precisely controllable heat supply. The tape placement process is also adapted to the subsequent shape of the component, so that hardly any waste occurs and can be produced in a resource-saving manner. The properties of the unidirectional thermoplastic tape, its impact strength and chemical stability are ideally combined in the produced components.
Thermosetting prepreg and towpreg processing
Although thermoplastic tapes have several advantages, thermorel prepregs are the most common type of material. The same innovations in productions can be applied to towpreg processing. We apply low-cost towpregs in a load-optimized and material-efficient manner, so that particularly stable components are manufactured with as little waste as possible. Since the thermoset plastic can be consolidated at low process temperatures, we can also use cost-effective heat sources for processing.
- Process development and optimization for the processing of thermoplastic tapes and thermoset prepregs as well as dry fiber rovings
- Producing test parts and application-oriented demonstrator parts
- Reinforcing existing structures locally to produce load-optimized parts or preforms
- Qualifying and comparing parts and laminate qualities
- Developing individual and flexible production systems (design, construction, set-up, qualification and commissioning of customized tape laying and winding systems)