Designing cost-efficient, high-performance fiber composites
Due to fundamental new concepts in the emerging “mobility” industry, new lightweight technologies, such as fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) for example, have become increasingly important in all transport and traffic-related systems. Currently used components made from FRP are predominantly produced with duromer (thermoset) matrix composites (resins).
As compared to thermoplastic matrix materials, however, the resin systems presently available on the market have several disadvantages in terms of cycle time, energy consumption, storage time, and recyclability. Moreover, the currently applied manufacturing processes entail a high proportion of manual work and are very time-consuming. Therefore, the alternative use of thermoplastic matrix materials, by comparison, enables shorter processing times in the process chain, including the automatable production of components as well as more efficient joining technology.
The goal of MAI Plast is to develop a consistent process chain for the production of FRP with thermoplastic matrix material that is suitable for mass production applications. For this purpose, suitable composites and composite combinations will be identified and efficient manufacturing processes will be developed. Based on end-user requirements, appropriate materials (fiber, matrix) will be developed, combined, and characterized by the Project partners. The material combinations form the basis for the development of new processes. In doing so, various technologies are considered for direct component production and component manufacturing for semi-finished goods.
The suitability of the developed key technologies for technological mass production will be evaluated by industry-relevant demonstrator components. In an iterative process, single processes are assessed with respect to their economic efficiency and then conceptually combined into an integrated manufacturing line. In the area of thermoplastic matrix systems, the MAI Plast project is an optimal tool for achieving the goals of the cluster, such as increasing the degree of automation and reducing production costs and rejection rates.