Innovative tools for efficient industrialization of CFRP components
The MAI TAI project aims at using new tool technologies to shorten the phase of industrialization when manufacturing carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). Currently, the risks consist of technical problems which lead to a high rate of rejects, expensive amendments to the molding tools and the process itself, and thus ultimately to delays. In order to address these problems, the consortium is considering four technological and strategic approaches:
1. The integration of manufacturing process simulation in an early design phase of the CFRP production is intended to highlight the risk of process-caused deformations of the components made from fiber composites at an early stage. These deformations could be avoided through appropriate reshaping of the molding tools. For this purpose, appropriate simulation models are to be developed and examined within the scope of the project.
2. Graphite is an easy-to-process and quickly-available base material. The development process and thus the delivery times for the tools can be shortened through the use of efficient tools made from graphite. Beyond that, resources can be saved. Within the MAI TAI project, optimum adjustment of the surface and material properties of graphite is planned, allowing initial production tests with graphite tools manufactured in-house to be performed.
3. In the development phase of a component, deformations due to internal stresses or design changes require the use of tool-changing technologies. The plan is to test this adaptation of tools through applying material by laser deposit welding. Compared with the conventional welding technology, this method of shape change has advantages such as high accuracy and reproducibility.
Figure: Laser deposit welding
4. During the manufacturing process, release agents ensure that the components do not stick to the tool. Due to the fact that this process requires a considerable amount of work, an approach in which the molding tools are permanently endowed with special anti-adhesive layers is being pursued. The consortium develops materials and order processes that are suitable for this purpose in cooperation with specialized subcontractors.
Overall, the MAI TAI project intends to illustrate a possible advanced design and industrialization procedure for CFRP production, to perform an economic efficiency analysis, and to examine the possibility of subsequent serial production.