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Dieffenbacher supplies RTM system technology to ZF Friedrichshafen AG

News International-French

12 Nov 2013

ZF Friedrichshafen AG has chosen to equip its development center with technology from Dieffenbacher and KraussMaffei. The application will feature light and high-strength structural components made from composite materials with a duroplastic or thermoplastic matrix.

Greater focus on batch production of lightweight parts
ZF is one of the world's leading automotive suppliers and is accelerating lightweight construction with fiber composite materials. The new technology center at the Schweinfurt site is equipped with cutting edge mechanical engineering technology and offers the potential to drive forward development projects and produce complex, prototype-ready parts in low quantities, as well as conduct basic research. According to the company itself, ZF has attained significant fundamental knowledge and experience of lightweight constructions over recent years, including technologies for processing fiber composite materials. The focus here is on wheel carriers and transverse leaf springs in car chassis, and on four-point links in trucks. Its aim is to achieve a weight saving of between 15% and 50% for the specified components.

System and process technology from one source
As a general contractor, Dieffenbacher supplies the total plant to ZF Friedrichshafen. The key component is the Dieffenbacher 1000 ton press from the DCL series. This height-optimized and energy efficient upstroke press is designed for batch production of vehicle components made from long and continuous fiber-reinforced plastics.

The installation provides optimal conditions for implementing pressing methods such as HP-RTM, SMC, LFT-D and organic sheet metal forming, as the integrated operating modes are also tailored to these methods.

The integration of control technology in the KraussMaffei metering system produces optimum fiber impregnation, especially when processing fast-reacting resin systems.

Dieffenbacher guarantees close-to-production development through its automation expertise. Preforms made from fabric carbon fibers are inserted into the press using the special Dieffenbacher gripper technology. The same process is used to place "organic sheet" materials into a Dieffenbacher infrared oven for rapid and homogeneous heating.

The opening of the development center at ZF Friedrichshafen AG and the transfer of the plant, which is ready for use, is the basis for implementing structural lightweight components that are ready for production.

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