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Formax successfully commissions new multiaxial machine dedicated to high volume Automotive applications

News International-French

28 Apr 2014

As part of a €2.5m investment program, Formax, the manufacturer of carbon fibre and specialty composite reinforcements, has successfully installed and commissioned its new Karl Mayer Malitronic multiaxial machine.

The new cut and lay machine, with a variable width from 1270mm – 1600mm, is housed within the new 5,000m² Automotive facility at FORMAX’s UK headquarters and will be dedicated to the production of tailored Non Crimp Fabrics (NCF’s) specifically optimised for high volume Automotive programmes.

Whether it is Class A body panels, BIW structure or impact resistant long fibre reinforced parts that are required, the new 35 metre multiaxial machine will allow Automotive OEM’s and Tier 1’s to design a bespoke fabric or preform to fit both the structure being built, and the manufacturing process; thereby ensuring a fast, cost effective and efficient conversion of carbon fibre into parts.

The machine is equipped with three axes, capable of laying ply angles from 20° through to 90° with both in-line and off-line spreading technology, allowing engineers to specify larger, lower cost, carbon fibre tows, with ply weights starting from just 50gsm.

An additional feature of the machine is that it is equipped with electronic pattern cams. This facilitates the creation of fabric specific stitch patterns, which combined with Formax’s extensive research into simulating drape, gives the company a unique capability to tailor fabric for specific parts.

Dan Norton, Automotive Sector Manager at Formax comments “Formax has recognised the demand being shown within the Automotive industry to include carbon composite structures within their multi material platforms and with this machine, and its cutting edge spreading technology, we are able to increase fibre throughput whilst maintaining and delivering high manufacturing efficiencies.

Resin and tooling technology are all advancing at a rapid rate to help deliver the magic 60 second cycle time the Automotive industry is pushing for, and we are confident that textile reinforcements can now be added to this list”.

The new machine is in full operation, whilst the facility will officially open in May.