New process technique increases productivity of CFRP materials
The increasing use of fiber composites more and more frequently requires high-volume capability, quality-assured and robust manufacturing process chains in many companies, so that a resource-efficient and economical production can be assured in Germany. One promising continuous process for the economic production of endless fiber reinforced plastic profiles is the “Pultrusionprozess” (pultrusion process), the basic principles of which have been applied since the 50s.
The production velocity currently stands at 1 – 4 meters per minute during pultrusion. These velocities are significantly too low to be competitive on the German and international market in the long run. The goal of MAI-Pull is to develop a fully automatized manufacturing process and increase productivity of endless fiber reinforced plastics, focusing on the production of economically competitive CFRP profiles. The goal is to increase the line and production speed by 50 %.
In order to achieve this goal, new components have to be developed and integrated into the manufacturing process in the MAI Pull project. This includes the development of a special microwave heating system for preheating the coated (saturated) fiber semi-finished products as well as the development of an additional microwave system for the heating of the mold. Furthermore, it includes the development of a special take-off system with which the produced profiles can be taken off in a fully automated process and can be stored in the designated boxes.
Figure: Part of new pultrusion line
The technical solutions, which have to be developed by the MAI Pull project, make an essential contribution to providing resource efficient processes, (i.e. cost and energy efficient CFRP production processes) in the future. They are therefore essential parts of the objectives of the BMBF Leading-Edge Cluster MAI Carbon. These objectives include the reduction of production costs and cycle times, the reduction of material costs and the development of innovative CFRP production technology and process chains.