FRIMO ensures an optimal mix
250 participants at the 6th FRIMO TechDay in Lotte
09 / 2015 - True to the motto "Just the Right Mix”, September 10, 2015 saw customers and partner companies joining in the 6th TechDay PURe and FlexTrim Technology in Lotte. The hugely varied program gave over 250 industry visitors from 80 companies and 20 countries a unique opportunity to be comprehensively and compactly informed firsthand. The agenda featured a mix of presentations from in-house and external specialists, a technical exhibition with selected partners and suppliers and a series of live demonstrations of production-quality machines within the FRIMO TechCenter. This year’s event focused on trends and innovations around PU processing and trimming of plastics components, while also including technologies for high-class surfaces and lightweight construction.
The set of lectures kicked off with a speech from FRIMO CEO Hans-Günter Bayer, offering a strategic glimpse into the future and what FRIMO aspires to: “In everything we do, we are adamant that our technological progress is only possible with a highly qualified workforce, who strive daily to achieve and maintain success, whether it be for teams, tools, systems or the end products”.
Günter Deinzer, Head of the Technical Center/Test area for Lightweight Technologies in the Audi Lightweight Construction Center at Neckarsulm, continued in the same vein, by giving an overview of the multimaterial concepts used for Audi car body construction. In the process, CFRP, the scope of which was previously limited to the high-performance and motor racing sector, will become increasingly important as it establishes itself as a fixture in premium sector vehicles. With this in mind, Deinzer introduced details of how the Ultra RTM method was developed, which has already been exploited to significantly reduce the work procedures and cycle times involved in manufacturing composite materials. One of the biggest challenges includes the development of KTL-capable CFRP components.
One example given by Deinzer was also the “SMiLE“ funding project, in which both Audi and FRIMO are involved, as well as additional OEMs, suppliers and representatives from research and development, all working to develop new lightweight construction concepts. The project, which stands for System-integrative Multi-material Lightweight Construction for Electric Mobiility, was selected in mid-June by the federal government on the occasion of the National Electromobility Conference as one of seven outstanding flagship initiatives. The project is sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), with the professional and administrative implementation handled by the project sponsor Jülich (PtJ).
A group lecture saw Dr. Ralf Dopheide, Managing Partner at Dr. Freist Automotive and Jürgen Mauß, Head of Product Management for PU systems at FRIMO report on practical advances in the form of new approaches taken to the manufacture of acoustic components. DFA Bielefeld GmbH is one of the leading suppliers of components used for sound absorption, heat-resistant absorption, sound damping as well as airborne sound insulation and, for example, with automotive applications in the bulkhead area, engine space, wheel arches or the underbody. Sonozorb B is an exclusive absorbent material offered by DFA Bielefeld, made from a special polypropylene fleece and providing particularly exceptional acoustic properties. DFA has seen its new systems for ongoing serial production projects come to fruition, thanks to a decisive contribution made by FRIMO.
BASF now offers its polyurethane customers an exclusive service encompassing virtual tool and process optimization by harnessing foam simulation, as Dr. Matthias Wohlmuth from the BASF Polyurethane section explained in his guest lecture. This means, for example, that the material flow in the tool and the configuration of the sealing system can be adapted accordingly, while shrinkage can also be avoided. Exploiting design and process optimization from an early stage helps reduce the amount of optimization and adjustment work required for operating equipment at a later stage.
The FRIMO contributions included project innovations in areas of PURe & FlexTrim Technology (Matthias Klahr), the new generation of mixing heads and their overall availability within the scope of the FRIMO-CMTT joint venture (Armin Daniel), models and images in 3D printing, the forward-looking FRIMO sealing system with inflatable end pieces for foam tools and all things new in PURe Skin technology (René Ring). The showcased content also included combined solutions, such as milling and punching in the flexible FRIMO production line (Christian Driskes and Bernd Risse) and lightweight construction solutions, including with PU composites (Jürgen Mauß) as well as innovative sandwich structures, including those with bionic surfaces (Karl-Heinz Stelzl).
Materials of the future – Panel discussion with Dr. Rudolf Stauber
The panel discussion was another highlight, moderated by Dr. Rudolf Stauber, managing the IWKS project group at the Fraunhofer Institute who joined experts to examine the topic of “Materials of the future“. When it comes to the topic of the future of lightweight construction, Günter Deinzer (Audi) sees maximum potential for bodywork structures made of fiber-reinforced composites as the most recent class of materials. However, new forms of heat treatment have paved the way to boost the strength of aluminum alloys by 30-40%. In terms of the interior, injection molding and long glass fibers offer weight reduction potential, details of which were given by Stefan Hobelsberger (BMW). As for the issue of which matrix material would come out on top in the FRP sector, Dr. Ingo Kleba (Rühl Puromer) believes that in the medium term, both PU and epoxy resins, each of which has its own core areas, will be deployed. Nikolaus Revesz (Huntsman Germany) cites the specific benefits of PU as the extensive variation included in the material family, including in the field of composites, where there is scope to process PU with low cavity pressures and using cost-effective systems. With risk minimization in mind, first choice for the automotive industry in the composites field have been the tried and tested materials of carbon fiber and epoxy resin, both of which have proved their worth in the aviation industry, commented Revesz. Even if we assume that such materials will continue to be optimally exploited in the higher-performance sector, polyurethane is also set to gain ground in many areas. “There is an art to using the right material in the right place“, concluded Dr. Rudolf Stauber. Additional topics covered in the panel discussion included sandwich structures, which are used not only in the passenger car sector but also for mobile homes or commercial vehicles. “You don’t always have to have a shark skin“, said Karl-Heinz Stelzl (FRIMO). The sandwich technology can be exploted to produce cost-effective and efficient parts for wide-ranging applications. For dashboards, meanwhile, sprayed-on polyurethane skin is enjoying something of a renaissance, given the way this method has been refined, said StefanHobelsberger. Thanks to which, the average weight of a spray-skin has been reduced by around a third.
Technology live and technical exhibition with partner companies
Expert discussions during the technology show gave participants a chance to wind down at the event. Partner companies taking part on the 6th FRIMO TechDay included 3A Composites, Acmos, BASF, Benecke Kaliko, Beyer 3D, BoParts, ChemTrend, Hufschmied, Huntsman Polyurethanes, Kunststofftechnik Wiesmayer, Sika Automotive and Rühl Puromer. The vehicle contingent, meanwhile, included both SPE award-winning Street Shark 3.0 vehicles as well as a Fast Forest Formula Student racing car on show.
Dr. Stauber congratulated FRIMO on the successful event and emphasized the extent of open dialog throughout the value chain, from the science stage and encompassing raw material suppliers, and those manufacturing the machines and tools, right up to the suppliers and OEMs. “This makes a key contribution to the innovative capacity which we have in Germany,“, said Stauber. Other participants were also impressed with the 6th FRIMO TechDay. “The lectures were fascinating,“ as heard from a participant, “and, what really impressed me was how concentrated they were.“ A Scandinavian visitor commented that he had gleaned a lot of valuable and particularly in-depth information, far more than expected. A third participant thanked FRIMO for such a consistent track record of organizing the TechDay events. He was pleased to see the audience in attendance as well as those giving lectures in particular. His conclusion? “I am very happy that I came along!“.
And as well as the participants, exhibitors and speakers, the FRIMO team was also satisfied with the success of the event. “We are proud to say that many innovative production solutions are “Made by FRIMO”". To make sure it stays this way, we hope to develop our competencies in a market- and customer-oriented way by networking with partners. The high level of interest spurs us on to pursue this path consequently, to remain a reliable technology partner and solution provider for our customers worldwide.
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