Composites or fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) nowadays play a key role as highly load-resistant lightweight construction materials for lowering energy and material consumption and for reducing emissions in a wide variety of applications and industries. Today, the use of fibre-reinforced plastics is no longer restricted to small series with many variants or individual items. With present-day production processes, it is possible to achieve short cycle times of only a few minutes and thus manufacture economically in large series.
Apart from the technical aspects, we also examine the suitability of the process for high-volume production and the economic viability of the processing method.
For economical high-volume production, the main challenge is not just to ensure that the manufactured part has excellent properties but also to further optimise cycle times, and above all:
- to increase cost and material efficiency
- to improve the robustness and productivity of the manufacturing processes
- to ensure the correct dimensioning of the parts to fully exploit the material's potential
- to customise and self-regulate the production processes
In order to holistically solve the above challenges, close interdisciplinary cooperation with the research partners of RWTH Aachen University's Composites network is the key to the successful transition of composites to large-series production.
For more than 30 years now, IKV has, together with its research partners, been carrying out research into processing methods and process chains for composites and other lightweight construction materials. This research has focused on the aspects of materials science and production technology, right the way through to full process chain integration and upscaling at the Aachen Centre for Integrative Lightweight Design, which was co-founded by IKV.
IKV has an excellently equipped FRP pilot plant for carrying out industrial joint research projects or bilateral research projects. There, we have a variety of forming, moulding and compression moulding units, mould carriers, filament winding unit, pultrusion unit, PU spray centre and a tape production machine. In addition, we have access to a wide variety of moulds, temperature control systems and sensor systems.