FRIMO at Composites Europe 2014

Lightweight construction solutions - customized, perfected, put to the test

09 / 2014 - From October 7th to the 9th FRIMO, together with cooperation partner Schuler, will be presenting a broad spectrum of manufacturing solutions as part of Composites Europe 2014 in Düsseldorf. In hall 8b/A45, FRIMO will be showcasing for professional visitors its expertise ranging from the processing of thermoplastic organo sheets to RTM (epoxy or PU) through to natural fiber PP applications.

When it comes to the ongoing and new development of manufacturing processes, the top priority is the economic manufacture of fiber composite components within robust mass production processes. The spectrum of offerings provided by FRIMO ranges from pre-forming to proprietary RTM processes through to post processing of the components using trimming, joining, and assembly processes. At Composites Europe, the following topics are a main focus.

HIGH PRESSURE RTM: High pressure resin transfer molding (HP RTM) is increasing in importance for serial production of structural components made of fiber composite plastics. On the HP RTM dosing unit from FRIMO (EPOx Mix and PURe Mix), epoxy resins as well as polyurethane matrix materials can be processed in combination with endless-filament reinforcement to form high-performance fiber composite components. The Institute for Lightweight Construction and Plastics Technology (ILK) at TU Dresden has just recently commissioned two high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP RTM) dosing units from FRIMO (hall 8a/booth G38) in order to expand its development and service offerings. One of the machines is equipped for an output range of 33 to 166 g/s with epoxide matrix material and the second machine for a range from 10 to 65 g/s with polyurethane matrix material. In equipping the machines, particular importance was given to ensuring that they can be easily operated. This means, for example, equipping them with a navigable visualization system developed by FRIMO. To show all important information at a glance, in addition to a clear display of the main process parameters, monitoring devices are also provided on the machines. The customer thus receives an especially convenient interface that has already proven its worth for various applications many times over. All process-relevant parameters are displayed via this visualization unit and can be seamlessly documented and archived. The data interface provided is adapted to customer requirements in order to make transfer of project-relevant data to superordinate systems easy.

LEIKA, a funded project for function-integrative lightweight construction - light vehicle body with FRIMO

The resource-efficient, affordable lightweight construction is a component that contributes to the achievement of the federal government’s National Development Plan for Electric Mobility. FRIMO is a development partner in a research and development project funded by BMBF (funding ID 02PJ2770 - 02PJ2781) and supervised by the Karlsruhe Project Promoter (PTKA). Within this context, FRIMO is working with others to develop solutions for questions related to efficient and cost-effective series production and assembly for lightweight vehicle structures put together using mixed construction.

It is here that the integration of various material classes such as fiber composite materials in combination with steel or magnesium in existing vehicle structures and production systems plays a special role. This kind of mixed construction makes it possible to meet the challenges of cost objectives and weight savings through the synergetic combination of the positive material and technological properties of both material classes.

It is here that FRIMO contributes its specialized expertise and years of experience in the field of lightweight construction with fiber composite materials. As part of the project, FRIMO is undertaking developments such as innovative tool systems (incl. multi-daylight molds), systems technology for the manufacture of innovative metal fiber composite synthetic materials (MF) sandwich half-finished products using discontinuous compression molding. The design of handling technology to automate the loading and unloading of half-finished pieces is part of this. 

Processing of Organo Sheets

The innovative processing and application of organo sheets was introduced by FRIMO and Premium Aerotec for the first time at Composites Europe 2011. Manufacturing clips from organo sheets (carbon fiber mesh with thermoplastic matrix) for the Airbus A350 XWB with fully automatic production facilities from FRIMO has proven itself, and this year it is expected that FRIMO will deliver its 3000th tool. This high count is the result of multiple geometries which are necessary for new clips or the replacement of existing variations. The fully automated tool change is integrated in the customer’s PDA. Thus thousands of clips with different geometries can be produced with extremely short cycle times, and without folds or pores, while guaranteeing the highest levels of quality and reproducibility.

FRIMO developed the Organo Sheet Injection Process (OSI) especially for processing composites with a thermoplastic matrix. It combines the two work stages of forming and subsequent back injection molding for organo sheets into one process step. The preheated flat semi-finished products, e.g. NFPP (natural fiber mats + PP) or organo sheets (CF, GF, aramid-fiber fabrics / mats with different thermoplastic matrix structures) are first formed in the mold and then immediately back-injected. During back injection molding, details such as mounting eyes, targeted reinforcement, or similar aspects can be integrated or the edge of the component can be finished off completely. Integrating the steps of the procedure into one single process makes considerable cost savings possible.

As part of a large order, customer Samvardhana Motherson Peguform (SMP) now uses the OSI process to produce door panels. After an overall successfully implemented prototype phase, SMP invested in tool and systems technology with FRIMO amounting to a total investment of more than ten million euros. In addition to the carrier presses, the scope also encompassed laminating, punching, and edgefolding. At the same time this is a global project not only including volumes for Europe, but also covering the demands for China. 

Flexible TP Fiber Composite Synthetic Materials Processing

Together with the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) at the RWTH Aachen, FRIMO developed and put into operation an innovative system for the flexible processing of thermoplastic fiber-reinforced plastics (TP FCSM). The system makes it possible to carry out extensive analyses in the field of thermoplastic fiber-reinforced plastics on a scientific level while at the same time maintaining a high level of practical relevance.

The flexible system, for example, makes it possible to individually combine customized preforms made of nearly any desired thermoplastic half-finished piece and reinforcement textile using an inline impregnation technique. 3D preforms can be directly impregnated and consolidated without shaping using variothermic tools. The new system technology offers a wide range of possibilities for process control and a completely automatable process flow.

With the IKV system, laminates can also be created for material manufacturers and their fiber/matrix compatibility, impregnation behavior, etc. can be analyzed. Even commercial prepregs such as organo sheets, hybrid textiles like Twintex, etc. can be processed.

Street Shark Wins JEC Innovation Award

FRIMO won an award in the automotive category for its technology demonstrator Street Shark at the third JEC America, which took place in Atlanta in May 2014.

The engine hood and roof system of the Street Shark 1.0, which is a BMW Z4 that has been modified for experimental and demonstration purposes, was designed as an RTM lightweight component using sandwich construction. The resin used here was a Vitrox® material produced by Huntsman, an advanced PUR matrix system that provides entirely new opportunities – and therefore an RTM process suitable for mass production – thanks to its chemical properties. Even bionic surfaces such as the texture of a shark skin, which significantly reduces flow resistance using tooth-shaped plates, could be recreated with this process.

With an enhanced version 2.0, the Street Shark was presented to the VDI’s International Congress “Plastics in Automotive Engineering” in Mannheim in spring, with the example of the Mission 400 Alzen Porsche. It was primarily the sharkskin structure on the engine hood that was optimized in the Street Shark 2.0. It was enlarged again, allowing further improvements to be made, including in the drag coefficient.

Alongside sharkskin, it is possible to produce lightweight construction components with other surface structures, e.g. dirt-repellent or self-healing surfaces, or any kind of decorative surface, e.g. wood look, which can be used for applications in other industries, such as the leisure and furniture industry.

About FRIMO (www.frimo.com)

Additional production and sales locations belong to the FRIMO Group, with over 1,200 employees in Europe, Asia, and the Americas as well as numerous international representatives.  The FRIMO Group was again distinguished for excellent service.  FRIMO has received the SPE Awards, known as the “Oscars of the Plastic Industry”, 18 times already. In 2014, FRIMO was distinguished with the JEC Innovation Award in Atlanta for the cooperation project “Street Shark” .The work of the FRIMO Group for the plastics processing industries includes a broad range of technologies from polyurethane processing, flexible trimming, punching, pressing and forming, thermoforming, laminating, and edgefolding, as well as joining and glueing. System solutions for large-series capable processing of fiber-reinforced plastics (composite technology) are also part of the business. For this purpose, FRIMO offers its customers tailored tools, machines, and production systems as individual or complete solutions from a single source.

Contact for further information and documentation

FRIMO Group GmbH
Martina Schierholt
Hansaring 1
49504 Lotte
Germany

Phone.: +49 (0) 54 04 / 8 86 - 1 57
Fax: +49 (0) 54 04 / 8 86 - 51 57
E-Mail: schierholt.m[at]frimo.com

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