Solutions for lightweight constructions

Great success for Frimo’s exhibits at the JEC World show: floor assemblies made with RTM technology, a streamlined concept for injecting organo sheets, and an NFPP hybrid moulding process

Both the RTM component and the floor section, manufactured using the newly developed local advanced tailored LFT process, captured the interest of JEC World visitors

The JEC World exhibition, held in March in Paris Nord Villepinte (France), hosted the new joint booth of the Composite Alliance formed by the Frimo Group and Schuler. Three of the lightweight construction solutions presented by Frimo generated particularly strong interest among visitors.

RTM process technology

From the vehicle floor manufacturing sector, the company displayed a large CFK floor assembly model, which was created as part of the iComposite 4.0 research project. The iComposite 4.0 cooperative project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), targeted resource-efficient, high-volume fiber-reinforced plastic component manufacturing. As part of the project, Frimo delivered an RTM tool for CFK, a mix and metering unit for epoxy and PUR systems, as well as extensive measuring and analysis equipment.

Another example from this field of application was the floor assembly for an Audi A6, which was developed as part of the BMBF flagship project SMiLE. The goal of this project was to develop manufacturing possibilities using thermoplastic materials as well as duromer composites. The front section of the floor was produced with the RTM process, and Frimo was responsible for the component’s RTM technology on a 2×2-meter section. The rear section of the floor, developed also in part by Frimo (along with Audi and Fraunhofer ICT), was produced in a thermoplastic FRP hybrid construction to optimally utilize the lightweight construction potential of the LFT process. To do so, UD endless tape (PA6-CF60) was combined with a D-LFT molding compound (PA6-GF40) and metal inserts. Both the RTM component and the floor section, manufactured using the newly developed local advanced tailored LFT process, captured the interest of visitors and sparked a lively exchange of ideas.

Organo sheets and NFPP hybrid parts

The second topic which inspired a great deal of interest among visitors was the organo sheet injection process (OSI). For the past several years, Frimo has been offering an innovative option for accelerating and economically streamlining the process by combining thermoforming, cutting and back injection molding in one step. The process, expanded by Frimo to include molding of the processed outer edge, has now been implemented in a challenging project, and will be applied in series production (SOP) starting from summer 2018.

The real “audience magnet” turned out to be the NFPP hybrid parts, which included an interior door panel by Volvo. Many fundamental questions were addressed regarding the material combination and the processing options for the materials. For NFPP, polypropylene is combined with natural fibers in a specific ratio, for instance 50/50. In the hybrid process, these components are then injected with PP-GF20. This involves, for example, ribs, spot welds or retainers. Depending on the geometrical requirements, natural materials such as flax, hemp or sisal are used for the natural fibers. This is how weight can be reduced by up to 40 percent compared to typical injection molding processes.

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