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Smart lightweight construction in Paris

News International-French

12 Feb 2015

Sophisticated machine and mold technology, production processes ready for large series production and groundbreaking lightweight construction will be presented at JEC Europe 2015.

KraussMaffei is presenting intelligent solutions for manufacturing fiber-reinforced plastic components (FRP). Thanks to the wide-ranging expertise in the areas of injection molding and reaction process machinery, KraussMaffei, as one of the few suppliers on the market, is providing technologies and systems for processing thermoplastic and thermoset matrix systems from a single source.

“We will demonstrate our expertise at JEC in many up-to-date application examples. In doing so, we will prove that we offer our customers the right process for optimized production for all corresponding component requirements,” emphasizes Erich Fries, Manager of the Composites/Surfaces business unit at KraussMaffei. The technologies cover the entire range of industries from automotive, transport and aviation to construction, wind power and the sport and recreation industry. "The market for composites continues to develop very dynamically. We expect to receive important ideas at the JEC," says Fries.

Perfect for large polyurethane composites
Large components with excellent, immediately paintable surfaces for trucks and agricultural machines can be manufactured, for example, using the LFI (long fiber injection) process in combination with the R-RIM process (reinforced reaction injection molding). R-RIM is the only process for polyurethane fiber composite applications where the reinforcement material is contained directly in one component. It features a high degree of automation and, therefore, short cycle times," says Fries. The low viscosity of the components makes it possible to manufacture large, complex, thin-walled, high-strength parts. These applications feature high temperature stability and an excellent impact strength and already have paintable surfaces. At JEC, KraussMaffei is presenting a fender for agricultural machines from Parat.

Functional integration made easy with FiberForm
The FiberForm process developed by KraussMaffei combines the thermoforming of composite sheets and injection molding in one process. The strength level of fiber-reinforced plastic components is increased through this procedure. The fully automated process enables short cycle times of less than 60 seconds and, therefore, production processes that are ready for large series. To date, FiberForm has been predominately used in the automotive industry. For example, seat shells and backrests are developed here in series production. Whether extra stiffness through adding ribs, shaped openings with a reinforced edge or complex geometries – the FiberForm process can be used to produce many things that would be nearly impossible as a sheet metal part. And all of this in only one process. At JEC, KraussMaffei is presenting infotainment holders developed jointly for Audi with partners Audi, Lanxess and Christian Karl Siebenwurst. Compared to a traditional steel sound holders, the FiberForm variant is half the weight, provides advantages in installation and the integration of additional functions.

But the product range of FiberForm is not just limited to applications in vehicle manufacturing: The most recent example, which can also be seen in Paris, is a multi-function stringer in the new Kingpin touring ski binding from Völkl. The basic body is made up of composite sheet, which is molded with a fiber-reinforced plastic and provided with multiple function elements. "The multi-function stringer is a perfect example of the advantages of FiberForm technology, that is to say generating defined mechanical properties and functional integration in only two process steps in one injection molding machine," explains Stefan Schierl, development engineer at KraussMaffei. On a small, narrow surface, the multi-function stringer contains three highly loaded function elements, all made from fiberglass-reinforced polyamide. In summation, the binding combines high function and safety, while maintaining a low weight at the same time.